It was only a matter of time, and now it is officially on paper. Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli made his tax pitch Tuesday morning and much of it is straight out of the GOP playbook. And while you have heard a lot of it before in different incarnations, there are a few wrinkles.
Above the hum of frozen yogurt machines at Sweet Frog in Carytown, Cuccinelli called for a three quarter percent cut in income taxes for almost everyone, a two percent cut in business income taxes and the slashing of some business and manufacturing taxes as well.
In all, Cuccinelli's tax cut plan would mean Virginia's government would take in roughly $1.4 billion less than it currently does. That means as Governor he would be forced to fill that gap somewhere. Virginia, unlike the federal government is constitutionally required to balance its budget.
That is where Cuccinelli's plan strays a bit from the GOP playbook and enters a bit of a murky territory.
He plans to pay for the missing $1.4 billion by using existing surplus funds, and by slashing loop holes and tax incentives designed to encourage certain businesses to come to or expand in Virginia. Cuccinelli argued that unlike many of his fellow Republicans he isn't interested in using the tax code to pick winners and losers.
"My focus is going to be on much more across the board," he said. "A better economic environment and lower taxes for everybody rather than trying to cherry pick a few folks to come here or expand."
Finally he plans to control the growth of government, which could mean cuts, to make sure the budget remains balanced.
What Cuccinelli hasn't outlined quite yet is specifics. He plans to form tax commissions that will help to prioritize what should stay and what should go, and which government programs should remained fully funded.
It was that lack of specificity that opened the door for Democrats to pounce.
"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," said Evan Feinman, the policy director for Cuccinelli's opponent Terry McAuliffe.
Another tax issue Cuccinelli stayed away from was transportation. The Attorney General was one of Governor Bob McDonnell's biggest critics during the passage of the recent transportation funding overhaul. The plan raises taxes in a number of areas. Cuccinelli said today that he has no plan to repeal the law, but he will have something to say on transportation at a later date.
The full outline of Cuccinelli's tax plan can be found on his campaign web site.
An extended clip of Cuccinelli' remarks from today's event can be found below:
PROGRAMMING NOTE: Prior to this morning's event, we spoke one on one with the Attorney General and asked him some tough questions regarding the Star-Scientific controversy. A full story on the interview tonight at 11 on NBC12. The entire interview will be posted here on Decision Virginia.