First Read
Your first stop for politics in D.C., Maryland and Virginia

Morning Read: Kaine: Buffett Rule is “Tripping Over Dollars to Pick up Pennies”

Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    Virginia Senate hopeful Tim Kaine went against the Democrat pack Thursday when he told a local radio station that the “Buffett rule” is “tripping over dollars to pick up pennies.”

    On a Charlottesville radio station, WIMA, Kaine said the Buffett rule—legislation named for billionaire Warren Buffett that would raise taxes for millionaires—would do little to plug the country’s increasing deficit.

    Instead of the $47 billion over a decade the Buffett rule would contribute to deficit reduction, Kaine suggested that lawmakers just let the Bush tax cuts expire at year-end. He said those tax cuts would yield nearly $4 trillion of deficit reduction.

    "So the content of it is fine, but I do question a little bit the priority of doing this right now, and let me tell you why: If the Buffett Rule passes, that will help reduce the deficit by $45 billion over 10 years. But right now, Congress has, sitting on its desk, the question of, “What do we do with the Bush tax cuts that are set to expire at year end?” That’s nearly $4 trillion—nearly $4 trillion—of deficit reduction."

    "If you let the Bush tax cuts expire over $500,000, that’s over $500 billion of deficit reduction. I think what they’re going to do—what worries me—is that they’re going to have a big fight over the Buffett Rule, then they’ll have a big fight about some other little one-off proposal that somebody throws on the table, and they’ll get to year end, and they won’t have talked about the issue that is on the table, that needs a resolution, that is the big ticket issue. So, you’re right, tripping over dimes to pick up pennies is—tripping over dollar bills to pick up pennies is what they’re doing."

    Kaine, a former Virginia governor, is in a high-profile Virginia senate race against George Allen, another former governor.

    Allen’s camp came out yesterday with a response on Kaine’s comments on the “Buffet rule”

    A statement in the press release read:

    But wait…..it turns out that Kaine’s objection to the Buffett Tax isn’t that it does absolutely nothing to help create jobs in Virginia or that is does nothing to help combat rising gas prices.

    Kaine’s problem with the Buffet Tax is that it doesn’t raise taxes enough.

    In fact, Kaine’s complaint to WINA this morning is that implementing the Buffett Tax will only raise $45 billion in new taxes over the next 10 years. Instead, Kaine said that Democrats need to go even further and raise taxes by almost 10 times that amount -- $500 billion over 10 years – by raising taxes on even more small businesses across the country, including thousands more in Virginia.

    The release also included a statement from National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) spokesman Brian Walsh

    “As Virginia Governor, Tim Kaine proposed the largest income tax increase in state history, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Tim Kaine wants higher taxes. But it speaks volumes when Tim Kaine is criticizing President Obama, of all people, for not taxing and spending nearly enough,” National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) spokesman Brian Walsh said Thursday. “This is just more evidence that Tim Kaine is a tax-and-spend liberal who is more focused on growing government, rather than growing jobs in Virginia.”

    Listen to Kaine’s interview here:

     
    * The Washington Post editorial board wrote that Gov. Bob McDonnell’s decision to amend the controversial voter ID bill was a wise move. The bill would have posed more stringent ID requirements for voters trying to vote, but the series of amendments he proposed renders the bill useless now.

    Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) has moved to gut an obnoxious bill, championed by Republican lawmakers, that would have needlessly stiffened voting requirements for Virginians. The governor’s level-headed move has annoyed his fellow Republicans, but it has also reaffirmed his reputation as a conservative who has governed mainly as a pragmatist — a reputation that propels him to the short list of Mitt Romney’s putative running mates.

    Although he didn’t veto the bill, Mr. McDonnell offered a series of amendments whose effect will be to render the legislation all but moot. That’s a good thing, because the voter ID bill is a gratuitously divisive measure whose only effect would have been to invalidate ballots cast by thousands of poor, young, elderly and minority voters.


    * A new law would require state lawmakers and executive appointees to post their required ethics statements and financial disclosure reports on the Internet beginning January 2013, according to The Maryland Reporter.

    The governor still has to sign the bill into law, which he is expected to do. This law would not apply to county executives and their appointees.

    VIA The Maryland Reporter

    “We’ve passed the Online Disclosure Act and brought our ethics regime into the 21st century,” said Sen. Jamie Raskin, D-Montgomery, minutes after its passage. He said 29 other states have some form of online disclosure for elected officials.

    Washington City Paper has a nice read on how 25-year-old unknown Gregory Cendana beat out D.C. councilmen Jack Evans and Marion Barry in a race for a slot in D.C.’s Democratic Convention delegation.

    Cendana may not have begun the day with name recognition, so he adopted a strategy based on what he does have: organizing expertise.

    Barry, in fact, might recognize the machinery of Cendana’s little campaign. First, he set up his operation like a big-time political effort. A group of 20 volunteers organized events, knocked on doors, set up a website, spammed reporters with press releases, and tapped their personal networks. By caucus day they had locked up institutional support from LGBT advocates and labor organizations. They also showed up in person to hound the ordinary Democrats who turned out to vote, showing up in blue Cendana shirts bearing baked goods for attendees.

    “I had people tell us, ‘Y’all are everywhere,’” Cendana says with a laugh. “We even did a flash mob dance to a Destiny’s Child remix.”