Ed Gillespie is running for Governor and thinks a great selling point of his campaign is a plan to cut Virginia’s income tax. Sounds good, right? Not so much. It’s actually a huge disaster for Virginia’s working families. Here’s why:
1. Gillespie’s tax plan is a giveaway to the super wealthy.
Gillespie’s plan is basically a huge tax break for the super wealthy. (Hey! That’s just like Donald Trump’s tax cut plan.) The top 1% of earners in Virginia would receive a tax cut over 500 times larger than the bottom 20% of households. To achieve the size tax break Gillespie is touting, a Virginia family would have to earn at least $229,000/year. What is the average household income in Virginia? $66,262.
2. Gillespie’s tax plan would force huge cuts to vital community services like public schools.
Basic math: Handing out lots of dollars to rich people leaves fewer dollars to spend on important programs, like schools and public safety. Fully implemented, Gillespie’s tax cut plan would cost $1.4B. Let’s look at its impact on public schools. Kids around the state have gone back to school over the past few weeks. A lot of their classrooms are understaffed because Virginia started the school year with hundreds of teaching vacancies. Filling those vacancies can be difficult because Virginia’s teacher pay is 32nd in the nation (aka—thousands of dollars below the national average.)
So, what could we do with $1.4B if we didn’t give it away to the super wealthy? Well, it would pay for 4,000 teacher positions that would get us back to about where we were before the Great Recession. That money is also the equivalent of state funding for pre-K slots for 49,000 kids. Priorities, amiright?
3. Even fellow Republicans think Gillespie’s tax plan is a hot, hot mess.
You know it’s bad when even fellow Republicans think your plan is a big pile of B.S. Frank Wagner, a GOP state Senator from Virginia Beach, didn’t hold back on his assessment, calling Gillespie’s plan “phoney math,” “quite simply dishonest,” and “bad public policy.” Wagner’s assessment was shared by John Watkins, a retired state Senator who chaired the Senate Finance Committee for years. His take? “We tend to be made [sic] a lot of promises from politicians. We can’t depend on the figures.”
Ouch. Gillespie might want to put some ice on that burn.