U.S. Chamber Of Commerce: “What’s Tim Kaine’s Plan For Virginia”

Claiming Virginia Senate candidate Tim Kaine supports “higher taxes” and “fewer jobs,” an ad from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce attacks him over his support for a cap-and-trade plan and health care reform. But the taxes Kaine proposed during his tenure as governor of Virginia were designed to pay for much-needed transporation upgrades that Virginia’s Republican-controlled House wanted to pay for with long-term borrowing, and although Kaine spoke about the need for a plan to address the threat climate change poses to Virginia, he has not endorsed a specific plan. The Affordable Care Act, meanwhile, leaves the private system intact and does not raise taxes on most Americans.

Kaine Proposed Tax Increase To Pay For Transportation Upgrades That Virginia’s GOP House Wanted To Finance With More Borrowing

Kaine Proposed Spending Budget Surplus On Roads, Tax Breaks, Education, And Environment. From the Washington Times: “Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, outlining his 2007 budget amendments yesterday, proposed spending $1 billion of the state’s surplus on roads, tax breaks for the working poor, teacher pay raises and cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. […] The governor’s amendments include a one-time infusion of about $500 million for transportation, a $250 million bond package for upgrading water treatment plants across the Bay watershed and increasing the minimum income tax filing threshold for the state’s poorest workers.” [Washington Times12/15/06]

Virginia GOP Wanted Kaine To Borrow Money For More Transportation Spending. From theVirginian-Pilot: “Gov. Timothy M. Kaine’s proposals for spending a $1 billion budget surplus received a lukewarm reaction Friday from top Republicans, who are girding for an election-year battle. Transportation remained the focus of disagreement. The Democratic governor wants to spend half the surplus on road and rail projects. Some Republicans said that is too little and chided Kaine for refusing to borrow money to ease congestion. […] Republicans, under pressure to find consensus on the state’s transportation gridlock, said they are disappointed that Kaine doesn’t want to borrow money for roads. They noted that the governor is backing new debt for sewage plant upgrades and a new prison in Southwest Virginia. […] Kaine said environmental programs and prisons are financed with income and sales taxes, which can be used to pay off debt on capital projects. He said he cannot support borrowing for roads until lawmakers agree on new long-term revenues to pay off the bonds. Virginia relies on gas taxes – a declining source of revenue – to pay for new roads.” [Virginian-Pilot via Nexis, 12/16/06]

Kaine Proposed Taxes To Pay For Transportation Upgrades That GOP Wanted To Finance With Borrowing. From the Washington Times: “While most Virginia governors have enjoyed several weeks to offer amendments, Mr. Kaine was given the tentative budget about 10 days before the end of the fiscal year. The more than 150-day budget deadlock centered on how to generate new money for the state’s overcrowded roads and mass transit system. The House wanted to use part of the state’s projected $1.4 billion surplus and free up additional money in the General Fund through long-term borrowing. The Senate and Mr. Kaine wanted to raise as much as $1 billion a year in new taxes. In the end, the two-year proposal provides $568 million in new money for roads — $339 million of that is contingent upon a long-term revenue source being established before Nov. 1. The General Assembly agreed to take up transportation in a special session this fall.” [Washington Times6/27/06]

Largest Of Tax Hikes Kaine Proposed Over His Tenure Were Aimed At Funding Transportation. From PolitiFact: “Kaine led the state from 2006 to 2010. Katie Wright, Allen’s director of communications, sent us a breakdown of supposed tax-increases advanced by Kaine. The largest proposed hikes, from 2006 through 2008, were aimed at raising money for Virginia’s overcrowded roads. […] By our count, Kaine proposed raising about $4 billion in new taxes — $1 billion in 2006, $1.1 billion in 2008 and $1.9 billion in 2009. Of those increases, the 2008 plan represented a second attempt to raise new road funding, and the 2009 proposal would have been partially offset by a $650 million reduction in local car taxes.” [PolitiFact.com, 4/16/11]

Kaine Supported Addressing The Threats Climate Change Posed For Virginia Families And Businesses

The citation the Chamber provides to support its accusation that Kaine “supported trillions in new taxes on America’s energy producers” is for testimony Kaine gave before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in 2007 and the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act, a defeated climate change bill.

In Testimony, Kaine Described Plan To Combat Climate Change That Included Reporting Requirements For Greenhouse Gas Emitters. From Gov. Tim Kaine’s testimony before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee: “I also recently released a comprehensive Energy Plan for Virginia, which covers all aspects of energy production and consumption and calls for the state to dramatically increase its efforts in energy efficiency and conservation.  The Plan identifies four overall goals, including reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2025, bringing emissions back to 2000 levels.  Soon, I will announce the appointment of a Commission on Climate Change to prepare a Climate Change Action Plan to implement these recommendations. The Commission also will gather information on the expected effects of climate change on the state and identify actions that Virginia needs to take to prepare for the consequences of climate change that cannot be avoided.  The Energy Plan also recommends that Virginia impose mandatory reporting requirements on emitters of greenhouse gases, and I will work with the legislature to implement this recommendation.” [Tim Kaine Testimony,9/26/07]

Kaine Detailed Climate Change’s Potentially Devastating Effects On Virginia Ecosystem And Economy. From Gov. Tim Kaine’s testimony before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee: “I am very much concerned that climate change could jeopardize the progress we’re making in restoring the Bay. […] We should also be concerned about effects on the Bay’s commercial and recreational fisheries, threatened and endangered species, and breeding ground and migration for waterfowl.  […] Rising sea levels would inundate coastal marshes and other important fish and waterfowl habitats and make coastal property more vulnerable to storms.  In fact, some estimates show that up to 80% of Virginia’s tidal wetlands could be lost by the end of the century. […] Climate change will also affect the Bay watershed’s forests, where prospects for insect and pest outbreaks will increased, which also pose a threat to agriculture.  As temperatures go up, there will also be reductions in crop yields.  For example, corn yields begin to suffer as temperature exceeds 90o F, and corn crop damage can be severe at 100o F.  Increased frequency of both droughts and severe rainstorms can also destabilize annual crop yields.  Because livestock are temperature sensitive, there are likely to be increased labor and maintenance costs to the farmer. Now, let me talk about impacts on the places where we live and work in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.  The Virginia Institute of Marine Science estimates that sea level will rise between 4 and 12 inches by 2030.  The Hampton Roads region of Virginia is the largest population center that is at the greatest risk from sea level rise outside of New Orleans. I mentioned frequent and severe coastal storms and flooding as an effect of climate change.  The effects of these severe storms will be multiplied by rising sea levels, increasing risk to life and property.” [Tim Kaine Testimony, 9/26/07]

Five Years Later: Report Affirmed Dangers Of Climate Change For Virginia. From the BBC: “Dying wetland trees along Virginia’s coastline are evidence that rising sea levels threaten nature and humans, scientists say – and show the limits of political action amid climate change scepticism. […] [A]s the salty estuary waters have risen in recent years, they have drowned the trees on the hummocks’ lower edges. If – when – the sea level rises further, it will inundate and drown the remaining trees and shrubs, and eventually sink the entire marsh. That threatens the entire surrounding ecosystem, because fish, oysters and crabs depend on the marsh grass for food. […] Ancient geologic forces are causing the land literally to sink, while the amount of water in the oceans is increasing because of global warming, scientists say. As a result, the low-lying coastal areas – and the towns in it – are at tremendous risk of flooding. […] While politicians in Washington and in Richmond, Virginia’s state capital, have done little to address the problem, authorities along Virginia’s coast have watched the waters rise and have been forced to take action. The city government of Norfolk spends about $6m (£3.8m) a year to elevate roads, improve drainage, and help homeowners literally raise their houses to keep their ground floors dry, says Assistant City Manager Ron Williams. […] At Naval Station Norfolk, the world’s largest naval base, the US Navy is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to replace aging piers with new ones better able to withstand the rising water.” [BBC.co.uk, 6/5/12]

Kaine Did Not Support A Specific Climate Change Bill. From PolitiFact: “Kaine warned that rising temperatures and sea levels would damage the bay and the Hampton Roads region, and he urged the Senate to take action. ‘I support legislation that includes a cap-and-trade program for emissions of all greenhouse gases, imposes economy-wide controls rather than singling out a particular sector, and accounts for state efforts to standardize methodologies to record and measure greenhouse gas emissions through the Climate Registry,’ he said. Soon after his testimony, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, at the time a Democrat from Connecticut, and Sen. John Warner, R-Va., introduced a bill to implement a cap-and-trade system. Previous cap-and-trade bills were introduced in 2003 and 2005. Kaine did not say that he specifically supported a particular bill.” [PolitiFact.com, 8/21/12]

Projections Suggested Climate Change Policy Would Have Little Impact On Household Budgets. From an Environmental Defense Fund analysis of five models used to predict the impacts of climate change legislation: “[W]hile climate policy is expected to raise electricity bills somewhat, the effect is fairly modest. Over the period 2010-2030, the median projected increase in the average household electricity budget relative to business as usual, across all of these models considered here, turns out to be the EIA’s forecast—just $3.30 a month, or about 3.5%. (The average projected increase is $3.15.) Moreover, the electricity bills implied by all of the models fall well within the range of recent experience. For example, the most recent analysis of the Lieberman-Warner bill (by RTI) suggests that households would spend about the same amount on electricity under climate policy, in real terms, as they did in 2005.” [EDF.org, 2008]

“Government-Run”? Affordable Care Act Expands Private Coverage

Washington Post: “There Is No Government Alternative To The Private System.” According to Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post:

Under the new law, there is no government alternative to the private system–this was a potential provision that was dropped during the congressional tussle–but the number of people who qualify for the existing federal-state Medicaid program for the poor will be expanded. States (or the federal government) will run “exchanges” — essentially marketplaces — in which private insurers will sell insurance to individuals and small businesses, but this should mean more people will get private insurance, not fewer. Tax credits will also be offered to people who have trouble buying private insurance.

Certainly, the law bolsters government regulation of the health care system, such as forcing insurance companies to no longer deny coverage to people who have existing medical conditions. People who currently do not have health insurance will be required to buy it. But the core of the health system in the United States will remain the existing private insurance market. So it in no way resembles the government-run health systems used in most industrialized countries in the world. [Washington Post1/18/11]

PolitiFact: “Takeover” Charge “Does Not Hold Up Under Examination.” According to PolitiFact: “[T]he law increases regulation. But it greatly relies on the private sector to provide health care. Hospitals will not be taken over by the government, doctors will not become federal employees. The act relies on private insurers to compete and provide health care coverage to an expanded customer base. Employer-based coverage through private companies continues. The ‘government takeover of health care’ is a potent political charge that does not hold up under examination.” [PolitiFact.com, 6/16/12]

Federal Government’s Share Of U.S. Health Spending Is Projected To Grow Very Slowly Under ACA. According to Kaiser Family Foundation president Drew Altman: “Measured by the government’s share of health care spending, there is no sign of a government takeover of the health care system.” The following chart, based on analysis by the Center on Medicare and Medicaid Services, shows the projected share of U.S. health spending by the states, the federal government, and the private sector in 2010 and 2020:


[KFF.org, 8/1/11]

Affordable Care Act Does Not Raise Taxes On Most Americans – And Includes Tax Credits For Millions

Affordable Care Act “Will Provide More Tax Relief Than Tax Burden” For Middle Class. According to the Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler: “The health law, if it works as the nonpartisan government analysts expect, will provide more tax relief than tax burden for middle-income Americans.” [WashingtonPost.com, 7/6/12]

FactCheck.org: “A Large Majority Of Americans Would Not See Any Direct Tax Increase From The Health Care Law.” According to FactCheck.org: “It’s certainly true that the health care law would raise taxes on some Americans, particularly those with higher incomes. The law includes a Medicare payroll tax of 0.9 percent on income over $200,000 for individuals or $250,000 for couples, and a 3.8 percent tax on investment income for those earning that much. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that the biggest chunk of revenue — $210.2 billion — comes from those taxes. There are other taxes in the health care law — including an excise tax on the manufacturers of certain medical devices and on indoor tanning services. The health care law included $437.8 billion in tax revenue over 10 years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation‘s calculations. Republicans tend to add in fees on individuals who don’t obtain health insurance (which the Supreme Court now agrees can be considered taxes) and businesses that don’t provide it to bump that up to about $500 billion. Some taxes, such as those on medical devices, may or may not be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices, but a large majority of Americans would not see any direct tax increase from the health care law.” [FactCheck.org, 6/28/12]

  • Individual Penalty Payments “Tiny” Compared To President Obama’s Previous Tax Cuts.According to FactCheck.org, the increased revenue from penalty payments by individuals who do not obtain health insurance represents “a tiny future increase compared with the tax cuts Obama has already delivered, including an estimated $120 billion in 2012 alone from the 2 percentage point cut in payroll taxes.” [FactCheck.org, 5/17/12]

Affordable Care Act Includes Tax Credits For Millions Of Americans. According to Families USA: “We found that an estimated 28.6 million Americans will be eligible for the tax credits in 2014, and that the total value of the tax credits that year will be $110.1 billion. The new tax credits will provide much-needed assistance to insured individuals and families who struggle harder each year to pay rising premiums, as well as to uninsured individuals and families who need help purchasing coverage that otherwise would be completely out of reach financially. Most of the families who will be eligible for the tax credits will be employed, many for small businesses, and will have incomes between two and four times poverty (between $44,100 and $88,200 for a family of four based on 2010 poverty guidelines).” [FamiliesUSA.org, September 2010]

[NARRATOR:] What’s Tim Kaine’s plan for Virginia? Higher taxes. Fewer jobs. As governor, Tim Kaine repeatedly proposed higher taxes. Overall nearly $4 billion worth. Kaine even supported trillions in new taxes on America’s energy producers. Kaine supported government-run health care, and supported a health care tax on millions of middle-class families. Tim Kaine: higher taxes, fewer jobs. The U.S. Chamber is responsible for the content of this advertising. [U.S. Chamber of Commerce via YouTube.com, 10/27/12]