Ken Cuccinelli rolls out economic, jobs plan
State government impedes economic growth, says presumptive Republican gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli, who unveiled what his campaign termed an “economic growth and Virginia jobs plan” that slashes individual and corporate taxes and ties growth of state government to an index based on inflation and population growth.
Cuccinelli, the sitting attorney general, rolled out the proposal at SweetFrog Frozen Yogurt, a Richmond-based company founded in 2009 with franchises across the country.
“During my campaign for Governor, as well as my time as atorney general and in the State Senate, it has always been important to me to get government out of the way and allow the free market to create jobs for unemployed Virginians,” said Cuccinelli, who has made social issues his focus as attorney general., and is now trying to burnish his credentials in the economics arena.
His plan would reduce the individual income tax rate from 5.75 percent to 5 percent over four years, and reduce the corporate income tax rate from 6 percent to 4 percent.
The proposal brought out bipartisan criticism. House Democratic Caucus leader David Toscano, D-Charlottesville, said Cuccinelli’s plan is “short on specifics, and would either force cuts in schools and public safety, throw our budget irresponsibly out of balance, or both. It would also threaten our AAA bond rating.”
“Virginians deserve a governor who puts jobs and the state’s economy ahead of political gimmickry,” Toscano said.
Former Republican state lawmaker Vince Callahan said the Cuccinelli plan is “silent as to where will the needed revenue come from.”
“Reducing taxes would have a huge negative impact on state services, including, but not limited to, education and safety services,” said Callahan, the former chair of the House Appropriations Committee, who retired from the House of Delegates in 2007 after 40 years in the legislature. “Core services under this plan would have to be reduced or eliminated, and there is no indication as to which ones in this proposal will be cut. State taxes in Virginia are relatively low, which is why Virginia is considered a good state in which to do business.”
Cuccinelli said the plan is driven by three goals – “to make Virginia more attractive to job creators and open to business development, allow Virginia workers and families to take home more of their hard-earned pay, and put a cap on government spending so that it doesn’t outpace the growth of inflation plus population.”
“If I am elected governor, this plan will be the cornerstone of my term. I will work closely with the business community and Virginia General Assembly to make this policy a reality because I know this is what the Commonwealth needs to attract and grow businesses, and to stay competitive with neighboring states,” Cuccinelli said.
Evan Feinman, the policy director on the campaign of Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe, said Cuccinelli’s proposal “would lead to a budget crisis that could undermine education, force localities to dramatically raise property taxes, and threaten the Commonwealth’s bond rating.”
“Under Govs. Warner, Kaine and McDonnell, Virginia has maintained its reputation as a well-managed state, but Cuccinelli’s unrealistic and ideological plan would undermine that tradition. Virginians know there is no such thing as a free lunch,” Feinman said.