Richmond, VA - Reprocessed, debunked claims and over the top attack ads have become a staple of outside groups in the Virginia Senate race but this new U.S. Chamber of Commerce ad might take the cake. The Chamber ad is called “What’s Tim Kaine’s plan for Virginia?” We’re glad they asked.
A plan for workforce development? CHECK
A plan to avert damaging sequestration cuts? CHECK
A plan to make the country energy independent? CHECK
The real choice in this race is between those Virginia based solutions and George Allen’s plan to go back to the policies he pursued during his last term in the Senate. Here were the results of that plan:
Massive surpluses turned to huge deficits? CHECK
3 trillion added to the national debt? CHECK
Health care premiums skyrocketed by nearly 80%? CHECK
“It’s understandable these outside groups haven’t heard Tim Kaine’s plan to create new jobs, grow the economy, and balance our budget that he’s shared with millions of Virginians. After all, they’re not from the Commonwealth and neither are the millions in secret money that fund their attack ads,” said Kaine for Virginia Communications Director Brandi Hoffine. “We’ll stack up Tim Kaine’s forward looking plan to expand economic opportunity up against George Allen’s rehashed policies that tanked our economy the last time he was in Washington. We look forward to continuing that discussion for the last ten days of this campaign.”
Full Fact Check
CLAIM: Kaine is a tax increaser.
FACT: Kaine cut taxes as governor.
KAINE ELIMINATED THE ESTATE TAX AS GOVERNOR
Kaine Ended Virginia’s Estate Tax In Order To Make Virginia More Competitive In Attracting “Small Businesses And Retirees.” A Wall Street Journal editorial wrote, “Democratic Governor Tim Kaine and the Republican-controlled legislature struck a deal to abolish the state's estate tax. […] The tax only brings in about $140 million a year to Richmond from several hundred estates, but the levy has made it harder for Virginia to compete for small businesses and retirees with Florida and the 24 other states that no longer have a death tax.” [Editorial, Wall Street Journal, 9/6/06]
KAINE REMOVED 140,000 LOW-INCOME VIRGINIANS FROM STATE INCOME TAX ROLLS
Kaine Signed Laws That “Would Remove About 140,000 Low-Income Virginians From The Tax-Rolls.” The Roanoke Times reported, “Gov. Tim Kaine has signed legislation that would remove about 140,000 low-income Virginians from the tax rolls… Kaine signed bills…that will gradually increase the state income tax filing threshold from $7,000 to $11,950 for individuals and from $12,000 to $23,900 for married couples. The bills also increase the personal exemption from $900 to $930 for all taxpayers.” [Roanoke Times, 3/22/07]
KAINE SIGNED THREE SALES TAX HOLIDAYS: SCHOOL SUPPLIES, HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS, AND ENERGY EFFICIENT ITEMS
Kaine Signed Bills Creating Tax Holidays “On School Supplies And Clothing.” According to the Washington Post, “Virginians will enjoy a three-day sales tax holiday on school supplies and clothing. The bills Kaine signed during a ceremony at the state Capitol lift the state's 5 percent tax on such items for a long weekend each August. . . . Consumers will not have to pay taxes on school supplies that cost $20 or less per item and on clothing and shoes that cost $100 or less per item. That weekend, businesses also can choose to pay the tax on other items for their customers and advertise those items as tax-free, a practice that had been illegal. Kaine, who was joined by several lawmakers and business lobbyists, said the new holiday would save shoppers at least $3.6 million a year.” [Washington Post, 6/3/06]
Kaine Signed “Sales Tax Holiday For Hurricane-Preparedness Supplies.” According to the Roanoke Times, “A separate sales tax holiday for hurricane-preparedness supplies will not take effect until 2008. Kaine signed a bill (SB 1167) that will exempt the sales tax on supplies such as portable generators, carbon monoxide detectors, batteries and cellphone chargers for a one-week period in May beginning next year.” [Roanoke Times, 3/22/07]
Kaine Signed Bills That Created Tax Holiday For The “Purchase Of Energy-Efficient Appliances.” According to the Roanoke Times, “Kaine also signed bills…creating a four-day sales tax ‘holiday’ each October for the purchase of energy-efficient appliances. During the holiday period…the state sales tax will be waived on appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines and refrigerators that meet federal Energy Star standards and sell for $2,500 or less.” [Roanoke Times, 3/22/07]
FACT: Virginians paid a lower percentage of their income in state taxes under Kaine than they did under Allen.
PolitiFact: While Allen Was Governor, Virginians Paid 5.6 Percent Of Their Income In State Taxes; While Kaine Was Governor, They Paid 5.3 Percent. PolitiFact Virginia wrote, “Congressional Quarterly’s figures show that during Allen’s governorship, yearly state tax revenues averaged 5.6 percent of all the income earned by Virginians; over Kaine’s term, the average was 5.3 percent.” [PolitiFact Virginia, 10/15/12]
CLAIM: Kaine supports taxes on energy producers.
FACT: It’s true that Kaine wants to close tax loopholes for the big 5 oil companies, while Allen voted for them and defends them.
ALLEN HAS A LONG RECORD OF SUPPORTING TAX BREAKS FOR OIL AND GAS COMPANIES
2003: Allen Voted For Bush Energy Bill, Which Had $26 Billion In Tax Breaks For Energy Companies, Including $11.9 Billion For Oil And Gas Companies. In 2003, Allen voted for a comprehensive overhaul of national energy policy. It would have authorized $25.7 billion in tax breaks over 10 years, including $11.9 billion to encourage oil and gas production. The bill failed when 6 GOP Senators voted against cloture. [Vote 456, 11/21/03; CQ Roll Call Votes]
- McCain Called 2003 Energy Bill The “No Lobbyist Left Behind Bill.” The Washington Post reported, “The bill's tax breaks, which are tilted largely toward coal, oil and gas, would add $23.5 billion to the budget deficit over the next 10 years, according to figures announced yesterday by Congress's Joint Committee on Taxation. . . . The special-interest provisions attached to the bill, however, drew sharp criticism from some lawmakers from both parties. . . . Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) called it ‘the “no lobbyist left behind” bill.’ He said he will support a filibuster to keep the legislation from coming to a Senate vote before Congress adjourns for the year.” [The Washington Post, 11/19/03]
2005: Allen Voted Against Bipartisan Effort To Eliminate Tax Breaks For Big Oil. In November 2005, Allen voted against an amendment by Senator Feinstein to eliminate a five-year, $2.4 billion tax incentive for major oil and gas companies that was enacted in the 2005 energy bill. The amendment was co-sponsored by 12 Senators, including Republicans Olympia Snowe, John Sununu, Judd Gregg, Richard Burr, John McCain, and Susan Collins. It was also co-sponsored by Democrats Ron Wyden, Maria Cantwell, Russell Feingold, Chuck Schumer, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton. [Vote 332, 11/17/05; E&E News, 11/17/05; CQ Today, 11/17/05]
- Oil Company CEOs And President Bush Agreed That Tax Subsidies Were Not Needed To Spur Exploration. A press release from the office of Senator Feinstein stated, “Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and a bipartisan group of 12 other Senators today sought to eliminate a tax incentive for major integrated oil and gas companies, which allows them to get a credit for the costs of their exploration and development at a charge to taxpayers of $2.4 billion over five years. . . . In April of this year, President Bush stated: ‘With oil at more than $50 a barrel, by the way, energy companies do not need taxpayers'-funded incentives to explore for oil and gas.’ At the joint Senate hearing last week, at which the CEOs of ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, BP, and Shell testified, Senator Wyden asked them if, given the fact that oil prices are above $55 per barrel, they needed these Federal tax incentives. They all responded ‘No.’ In fact, Lee Raymond of ExxonMobil stated this: ‘No and I don't think our company has asked for any incentives for exploration.’” [Press Release, Office of Senator Feinstein, 11/17/05]
2011: Allen Opposed Effort To Roll Back Tax Breaks For Big Oil Companies, Called It A "Political Stunt." The Free-Lance Star reported, “U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine says he backs a push by Senate Democrats to end subsidies for oil companies. But two Republicans running for the seat, George Allen and Jamie Radtke, don't agree.” Allen spokeswoman Katie Wright called the effort a “political stunt.” [The Free Lance-Star, 5/13/11]
FACT: Kaine created Virginia’s first state energy plan, which took an all-of-the-above approach to energy.
Kaine Released Virginia’s First Energy Plan. Electric Utility Week reported, “Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, a Democrat, released his state's first energy plan.” [Electric Utility Week, 9/17/07]
Kaine Signed Legislation Creating Virginia’s First Energy Policy, Which Made It The Official Policy Of Virginia To Explore For Natural Gas Off Virginia’s Coast. In 2006, Kaine signed SB262, which established Virginia’s first energy policy. According to a summary of the bill by the Virginia Legislative Information System: “The measure also provides that it is the Commonwealth's policy to support federal efforts to determine the extent of natural gas resources 50 miles or more offshore and to support the inclusion of the Atlantic Planning Areas in the federal Mineral Management Service's draft environmental impact statement for natural gas exploration 50 miles or more off the Atlantic shoreline.” [SB262, LIS Summary, 4/19/06]
- Kaine Energy Plan Called For Broad Mix Of Energy Sources Including Coal, Gas, Wind, And Solar. The Commonwealth energy plan produced by the Kaine administration stated, “Virginia will need a broad mix of energy sources over the next ten years. New technologies should expand the state’s energy portfolio, including prudent investments in projects such as the Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center’s fluidized bed coal power plant [in Wise County], the Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) power plant proposed to serve Appalachian Power customers, liquid fuel production from agricultural and waste products, wind, and solar.” [Virginia Energy Plan, 2007]
Kaine Supported The Webb/Warner-Sponsored “Virginia Outer Continental Shelf Energy Production Act Of 2011.”A Kaine campaign press release stated: “Governor Tim Kaine released the following statement on the Virginia Outer Continental Shelf Energy Production Act of 2011: ‘I've long supported exploration for offshore energy options as a bridge while we move America toward a low-carbon energy future. The legislation introduced by Senators Webb and Warner is a reasonable extension of the policy I signed in 2006 as Governor and I applaud them for their leadership on this issue. . . . I firmly support the provision in this legislation that directs half of any leasing revenues to be paid to Virginia to support infrastructure improvements, land and water conservation efforts, and other critical projects.’” [Kaine Campaign Press Release, 7/7/11]
CLAIM: “Kaine supported government-run health care.”
FACT: PolitiFact rated this claim their “Lie of the Year” in the past and has already criticized Allen for repeating “A falsehood that won’t die.”
PolitiFact's “Lie Of The Year” Was The Claim That The Affordable Care Act Was “A Government Takeover Of Health Care.” In an article entitled, “PolitiFact's Lie of the Year: ‘A government takeover of health care,’” PolitiFact wrote, “PolitiFact editors and reporters have chosen "government takeover of health care" as the 2010 Lie of the Year. Uttered by dozens of politicians and pundits, it played an important role in shaping public opinion about the health care plan . . . The phrase is simply not true. . . . PolitiFact reporters have studied the 906-page bill and interviewed independent health care experts. We have concluded it is inaccurate to call the plan a government takeover because it relies largely on the existing system of health coverage provided by employers.” [PolitiFact, 12/16/10]
Allen’s First Paid Communication Had PolitiFact’s 2010 “Lie Of The Year.” In Allen’s first paid communication of the campaign, he ran a radio ad stating, “Obamacare: A government take-over of healthcare.” [Allen Radio Ad, “Send A Message,” 6/6/12]
PolitiFact: Allen’s Claim In His June 6th Radio Ad That Health Care Reform Was A “Government Takeover” Is “A Falsehood That Won't Die.” In a ruling subtitled, ‘A falsehood that won’t die,’ PolitiFact Virginia reported, “Republican U.S. Senate candidate George Allen has been a relentless critic of President Barack Obama’s health care reform law, calling it ‘a government takeover of health care.’ He used that phrase in a radio commercial that ran just before his victory in the June 12 Republican Primary, during a June 15 speech in Washington to the Faith and Freedom Coalition and in a June 16 speech at the GOP state convention in Richmond… The ‘government takeover of health care’ is a potent political charge that does not hold up under examination. We rate Allen’s claim False.” [PolitiFact Virginia, 7/1/12]
CLAIM: The Affordable Care Act hurts the middle class.
FACT: The Affordable Care Act is helping the middle class.
INSURANCE COMPANIES WILL PAY $1.1 BILLION IN REBATES IN 2012 UNDER THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT, OVER $43 MILLION IN VIRGINIA
Insurance Companies Will Pay $1.1 Billion In Rebates In 2012 Under Affordable Care Act, Benefitting Nearly 13 Million Americans, Including 686,738 Virginians. The Washington Post reported, “Millions of consumers and businesses will receive rebates totaling $1.1 billion this summer from health insurance plans that failed to meet a requirement of the new health-care law, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. That Affordable Care Act rule requires insurance companies to spend at least 80 percent of subscriber premiums on health-care claims and quality-improvement initiatives. The other 20 percent is left for administrative costs and profits. Health insurance plans that don't meet that threshold will send a rebate to consumers to cover the difference. . . . In a new report, the Obama administration found that 12.8 million Americans will receive rebates this year, with an average value of $151. . . . The rebates, which must be sent out by Aug. 1, will go to those in both individual and group plans, with the amount varying by state. . . . Rebates will average…$115 for 686,738 in Virginia. Not all the money will flow directly to consumers: For those who receive insurance through their workplace, the health insurance plan will send a rebate to the employer. It is then the employer's responsibility to either pass that rebate on to the individual or use it in other ways that may benefit the employee, such as lowering premiums for the next year.” [Washington Post, 6/21/12; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Report, 6/21/12]
Insurance Companies Will Pay $43 Million In Rebates To Virginia Consumers And Businesses. A report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stated that insurance companies will pay over $43 million in rebates to Virginia consumers and businesses under the Affordable Care Act’s 80/20 rule. A total of 686,738 Virginians will benefit from the rebates, with the average rebate per family totaling $115. [U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Report, 6/21/12]
66,000 YOUNG ADULTS IN VIRGINIA ARE NOW ON FAMILY INSURANCE PLANS
66,000 Young Adults In Virginia Gained Insurance Coverage As A Result Of The Affordable Care Act. From Healthcare.gov: “Health plans are now required to allow parents to keep their children under age 26 without job-based coverage on their family coverage, and, thanks to this provision, 3.1 million young people have gained coverage nationwide. As of December 2011, 66,000 young adults in Virginia gained insurance coverage as a result of the health care law. For more details on these numbers, visit here.” [Healthcare.gov, Accessed 7/16/12]
OVER 1 MILLION VIRGINIANS ON MEDICARE HAVE TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF FREE PREVENTIVE SERVICES
In 2011, 837,645 Virginians On Medicare Received Free Preventive Services, Including Mammograms And Colonoscopies, Because Of The Affordable Care Act. [Healthcare.gov, Accessed 7/16/12]
In The First Six Months Of 2012, 474,827 People With Medicare Received Free Preventive Services Because Of The Affordable Care Act. [Healthcare.gov, Accessed 8/22/12]
1,155,428 Virginians Are Enrolled In Medicare. [Kaiser Family Foundation, State Health Facts, Accessed 7/20/12]
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT HELPS SENIORS WHO FALL IN THE “DOUGHNUT HOLE,” SAVING VIRGINIA’S SENIORS AN AVERAGE OF $635 A YEAR ON PRESCRIPTION DRUGS
In 2012, Under the Affordable Care Act, Over 16,000 Virginians On Medicare Saved Over $600 On Prescription Drugs On Average. According to Healthcare.gov: “Thanks to the new health care law, 84,977 people with Medicare in Virginia received a $250 rebate to help cover the cost of their prescription drugs when they hit the donut hole in 2010. Since the law was enacted, Virginia residents with Medicare have saved a total of $83,949,689 on their prescription drugs. In the first five months of 2012, 16,509 people with Medicare received a 50 percent discount on their covered brand-name prescription drugs when they hit the donut hole. This discount has resulted in an average savings of $635 per person, and a total savings of $10,489,831 in Virginia. By 2020, the law will close the donut hole.” [Healthcare.gov, Accessed 7/16/12]
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT HAS EXPANDED ACCESS TO PREVENTIVE SERVICES TO APPROXIMATELY 47 MILLION WOMEN NATIONWIDE, OVER 1 MILLION WOMEN IN VIRGINIA
Under The Affordable Care Act, 47 Million Women Nationwide And Over 1 Million In Virginia Gained Access To Preventive Services. According to Healthcare.gov, “But for women especially, it’s a new day. Beginning August 1, women in Virginia can now get coverage— without cost-sharing—of even more preventive services they need. Approximately 47 million women will now have guaranteed access to additional preventive services without cost-sharing for policies renewing on or after August 1, 2012, including 1,376,205 in Virginia.” [Healthcare.gov, Accessed 9/19/12]
Many Health Plans Now Cover Contraceptive Services And Additional Preventive Services With No Cost-Sharing. According to Healthcare.gov: “Beginning in August, many health plans will cover additional preventive services with no cost-sharing, including well-woman visits, screening for gestational diabetes, domestic violence screening, breastfeeding supplies and contraceptive services.” [Healthcare.gov, Accessed 7/18/12]
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT HAS EXPANDED ACCESS TO PREVENTIVE SERVICES TO 54 MILLION AMERICANS ON PRIVATE INSURANCE, INCLUDING 1.5 MILLION VIRGINIANS
Under The Affordable Care Act, 54 Million Americans With Private Insurance, Including 1.5 Million Virginians, Gained Access To Preventive Service Coverage With No Cost-Sharing. According to Healthcare.gov, “Because of the law, 54 million Americans with private health insurance gained preventive service coverage with no cost-sharing, including 1,519,000 in Virginia.” [Healthcare.gov, Accessed 9/19/12]
INSURANCE COMPANIES ARE NO LONGER ABLE TO DENY COVERAGE TO CHILDREN WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS
Under The Affordable Care Act, “Job-Based Health Plans And New Individual Plans Are No Longer Allowed To Deny Or Exclude Coverage For Your Children (Under Age 19) Based On A Pre-Existing Condition, Including A Disability.” [Healthcare.gov, Accessed 7/18/12]
MILLIONS OF SMALL BUSINESSES ARE ELIGIBLE FOR A TAX CREDIT UNDER ACA
“Up To 4 Million Small Businesses Are Eligible For Tax Credits To Help Them Provide Insurance Benefits To Their Workers.” According to Healthcare.gov, “Up to 4 million small businesses are eligible for tax credits to help them provide insurance benefits to their workers. The first phase of this provision provides a credit worth up to 35% of the employer’s contribution to the employees’ health insurance. Small non-profit organizations may receive up to a 25% credit.” [Healthcare.gov, Accessed 9/17/12]