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GOP Candidates Press Dems on Taxes

Anita Kumar

Last week, Democrat Creigh Deeds said he would consider raising taxes for much-needed road improvements (though he had a little trouble actually saying it) -- something Republican Bob McDonnell has pledged not to do.

Now, McDonnell's running mates, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and attorney general hopeful Ken Cuccinelli, are trying to to pin down their Democratic opponents, Jody Wagner and Steve Shannon, on the sticky issue of taxes and whether they agree with the man at the top of their ticket.

"Today I am asking Jody Wagner to state in clear terms to the people of Virginia whether or not she supports Creigh Deeds' plan to raise taxes to pay for transportation," Bolling said. "The voters deserve a simple 'yes or no' to this fundamental question."

"Will he or won't he stand with Creigh Deeds in support of higher taxes?" Cuccinelli said..

Bolling and Cuccinelli are touting their "strong" records of opposing tax hikes, including the one Virginia politicos can't seem to stop talking about -- former Gov. Mark Warner's 2004 increase.

Wagner campaign manager Elisabeth Pearson sent us a response, but it doesn't say one way or the other whether she supports raising taxes. It does, however, blame Bolling for pulling out of this week's debate. Pearson said Wagner believes in growing the state's economy, pursuing public-private partnerships, focusing on smarter growth patterns and providing incentives for tele-work and alternative work hours to get cars off the roads.

"What we cannot afford is to raid education and health care funding to pay for transportation, which is what Bob McDonnell and Bill Bolling propose,'' she said. "Jody is looking forward to working with Governor Deeds to provide a long-term solution to transportation funding."

Meanwhile, Shannon said he doesn't think taxes should be raises in a down economy, but wants to talk about other issues. "Unlike my opponent, I am focused on the issues that relate to the office of the attorney general, namely how to make Virginia a safer place to live and work by cracking down on drunk drivers, gang leaders and Internet predators who target our kids,'' he said. "I hope he eventually joins me in a serious discussion of these important issues."

By Anita Kumar  |  September 22, 2009; 3:00 PM ET
Categories:  2009 Lieutenant Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Bill Bolling , Jody Wagner , Ken Cuccinelli , Steve Shannon  
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Next: Warner, Chichester Defend 2004 Tax Deal


Oh boy, here comes the free lunch crowd again, and they apparently still think Virignians aren't able to see through them and their cutsey slogans....

Sorry, but Virginia voters know that roads cost money, that you don't get a free lunch every day of the week, and that common sense RESPONSIBLE measures that are targeted to the expenditure users, structured in as fair a manner as possible, ARE THE WAY GOOD GOVERNMENT WORKS.

I am really glad that Wagner pointed out the diversion from existing commitments that has been proposed.

And how is not answering demagogues' rhetorical questions (demagoguery that has been proven as complete BS time and time again) about taxation "a simple yes or no" matter? It's NOT. Taxation doesn't occur in a vaccuum, and is not an issue to be considered in a vaccuum.

Ask a voter if they want to pay more taxes, and their answer will ALWAYS be no. Duh. That's not the point.

The point is, do voters want to pay more in taxes to get wider I-95, new metro lines, better road maintenance, and good schools?

I guarantee you, if this election is CORRECTLY framed in that way then Deeds, Wagner, and Shannon are going to be swept into office.

Come on WaPo, can we please cover these things with some intellect and perspective?

Posted by: DouginMountVernon | September 22, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Fine Doug, what taxes do you want to raise specifically and how much? The gas tax? You would have to raise it 25 cents a gallon just to widen 95. I'm sure you can afford a Prius, but some of us still have clunkers and can't afford to pay more for gas. You want to raise the sales tax again like Warner did? Its fine if you believe Virginians should be paying more for better services as Deeds and the other dem candidates apaprently do, but they need to tell us exactly what taxes and how much. Warner and Kaine campaigned saying they wouldn't raise taxes and then tried when they got elected. They didn't get much support because they didn't have a mandate to raise taxes since they campaigned against them. At least Deeds almost admits he supports raising taxes, but he still needs to tell which ones and how high. Don't think its asking too much.

Posted by: OldVirginian | September 22, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

@ OldVirginian - And as you're sitting there stuck in traffic in your old clunker, you're wasting time and burning gasoline. Cars are more efficient when they're moving.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | September 22, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

When it comes to state and local lawmakers you will find they haven't the slightest concern about your ability to pay the tax they plan to levy. Regressive taxes are their trademark. You can bet it will be a gas tax or a sales tax and not a progressive tax on income.

Posted by: monteathp | September 22, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Let's not confuse the issue; Deeds has tried that. The point is, if a candidate supports higher taxes, as apparently Creigh Deeds does, he should be honest and say so, and explain why. Instead, as evidence after last week's debate, he stated explicitly during the debate that he would not raise taxes, and afterwards spent an embarrassing 3 1/2 minute back peddling and qualifying his statement. His rambling incoherent explanation ranged from (1) he wouldn't raise taxes, but would raise "new money" (huh?); (2) he wouldn't raise the general fund (okay, then what would he raises taxes for); and then (3) in a sexist condescending retort to a female reporter who inquired whether gas taxes went to the general fund and whether his no tax pledge included gas taxes, smugly responded "Young lady, I think I've made myself clear." Really? Deeds just hopes voters are too stupid to catch on...enough reason for me to vote for McDonnell.

Posted by: rlmiller28 | September 22, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse

most of you are completely missing the point of this piece. Go back and re-read it.

The question isn't whether it's right or not to raise taxes to pay for transportation (or anything else). Or whether they should be raised in this economy, etc.

The question is: will you raise taxes? Yes or no? The GOP is right in this case... at least they have come out clearly and stated their position; now we have a basis for voting.

The Dems have been pretty cowardly about this issue. Even the (uber left-leaning) WaPo said as much in their editorial the other day. Instead Deeds' ads attack McDonnell for his 20 yr old term paper. Your negative campaign, is that all you have?

State your position, and make your argument.

Posted by: jd234 | September 22, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Creigh Deeds states his transportation plan as an opinion piece this very morning in the Washington Post.

Yes, raising taxes, if necessary.

Posted by: VintageLady | September 23, 2009 5:08 AM | Report abuse

25 cents a gallon? For my car, that comes to about an extra $4 a fill-up. I fill up every 10 days or so, so that's an extra $145/year. I believe that's not asking too much to get better roads, and to not raid the General Fund in doing so.

Posted by: BigDaddyD | September 23, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

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