Jim Gilmore on Tax Reform

Senate challenger 2008; previously Republican Governor (VA)


Income tax 25%; business tax 15%; death tax 0%

We're going to do a tax cut for all Americans. We're going to have a three-bracket tax code, 10, 15 and 25 percent. We're going to combine all commercial activity in business into one place in the tax code and charge it 15 percent, which is going to suddenly make us competitive with the rest of the world. And we're going to eliminate the death tax.
Source: Fox News/Facebook Second Tier debate transcript , Aug 6, 2015

Signature achievement: effort to eliminate Virginia car tax

Gilmore, whose signature achievement as governor was his effort to eliminate Virginia’s car tax, frequently mentioned that Warner pushed through a $1.4 billion tax increase in 2004. The car tax never was fully revoked because of budget restraints.

Warner countered that the tax increase was needed to close a $6 billion budget shortfall that he said he inherited from Gilmore. Gilmore said he left office with a balanced budget. Gilmore said Warner’s tax increase did little to help road-building, and they were proof that Warner would support higher federal taxes as well. “Taxes are coming at us like a freight train,” Gilmore said. Gilmore was referring to Obama’s proposal to roll back Bush’s tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans. Warner said he supports eliminating those tax cuts as a way of reducing the federal deficit.

Source: 2008 VA Senate debate reported in Washington Post , Sep 19, 2008

In times of economic stress, don’t raise taxes

Gilmore tried to portray Mark Warner as the mirror image of Barack Obama. “We have to put together an energy policy, financial policies that will do the right things for people, but Mark Warner wants to raise taxes; Barack Obama wants to raise taxes,” Gilmore said. “This is not going to be healthy for the economy in a time of stress.”

Warner said he has expressed support only for rolling back top-tier tax breaks by the Bush administration and is against tax increases on small businesses.

Source: 2008 VA Senate Debate in The Washington Times , Sep 19, 2008

Warner raised taxes without fully informing us about revenue

RHETORIC: Gilmore: “Your Secretary of Finance John Bennett sent you a letter and reported in February [of 2004] and said ‘Guess what? Revenues are climbing’...Why didn’t you tell the people of Virginia what you knew and what you were being told so that tax increase could have gone forward with all the facts available and probably would have never been enacted. Why didn’t you tell the people of Virginia what you were being told by your own people?“

REALITY: The update to the Joint Finance Committee letters are public, e-mailed to all General Assembly members, and posted on the web just after the Governor receives it. The monthly revenue reports also are widely reported by the media

Source: 2008 VA Senate Debate: analysis by Warner campaign , Jul 19, 2008

Bush did the right thing with cutting taxes

Q: Do you approve or disapprove of the job President Bush is doing?

A: I think the president did the right thing when he cut taxes for people in this country. He created a good economy. We are still enjoying the benefits of that economy today. I think there are some other places that I would like to do some things a bit differently.

Q: Like what?

A: Well, for one thing, I think that we need to be focusing a great deal upon energy independence.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2007 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer , May 6, 2007

Alternative minimum tax drives people into higher brackets

Q: In addition to the Bush tax cut, name a tax you’d like to cut.

A: I’ve been a governor of Virginia. I ran on a tax cut proposal, and I ran on eliminating the car tax in Virginia. I received terrific opposition. I kept my promise, and we eliminated that car tax. Now, the question is, who is actually going to do what they say they’re going to do? I have actually lived up to my word. The alternative minimum tax is continuing to drive people in the middle class into higher and higher tax brackets.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC , May 3, 2007

Control spending, or higher taxes are certain

Q: Certain candidates (e.g. John McCain) feel that tax increases are the best way to lower the deficit. What is your view on this?

A: This is the heart of the campaign: We have to control spending, or higher taxes are certain. Tax cuts put more money back into the control of families trying to make ends meet and take of their children.

Source: Live Chat with Jim Gilmore on his campaign blog , Apr 26, 2007

Studied FairTax & flat tax, but still undecided on approach

Q: Would you pledge to sign the FairTax into law?

A: I have studied the fair tax and the flat tax. I have not decided the best approach to empowering people through tax reform. Many Americans fear that we will institute the fair tax, and still keep the income tax. We will determine the best policy, and get started to help taxpayers.

Source: Live Chat with Jim Gilmore on his campaign blog , Apr 26, 2007

Holding the line on taxes is best for regular people

Q: When you were Governor you had to say no to the Democrats who wanted to raise taxes. Will you bring that same tenacity to Washington?

A: In fact, I had to struggle against Democrats AND Republicans. Holding the line is best for regular people. We must drive this point home.

Source: Live Chat with Jim Gilmore on his campaign blog , Apr 26, 2007

Always followed a program of reducing taxes where possible

Q: With budget cuts in Virginia, how are we suppose to pay for any anti-terrorism plans? You may be proud of your work on this committee, but you should be ashamed of what your “anti-taxes” program has done in Virginia.

A: The issue is not whether we pay taxes, but how much in taxes, what kind of taxes, and for what purpose. My tax cut program in Virginia is intended to help individual working men and women have a better quality of life and more control over their own budgets. Government is about setting priorities. Medicaid programs and homeland defense are both very important and should be a first call on tax dollars. I always followed a program of reducing taxes where possible and minimizing the impact of program reductions. The current elected officials are responsible for the choices they make in budget reductions just as I was responsible when I was Governor.

Source: Washington Post interview, “Confronting Iraq” , Mar 24, 2003

End the Car Tax

We have already met the conditions to proceed with the next phase of the car tax cut with a 70% reduction. Because the money is already in the budget, any bill that would halt the car tax cut I believe would amount to a tax increase. Any bill that would cut the car tax less than 70% would also amount to a tax increase, in my judgement.

The car tax cut is about people and principle. The car tax may not be a heavy burden to some Virginians. But many Virginians, one or two hundred dollars makes a real difference in their lives.

[And] the principle: People have grown cynical about government. We overwhelmingly enacted this together and most of us have campaigned on it. Together, let’s keep the trust of the people. I ask you to support the car tax cut not only because it was a campaign promise, but also because it makes a real difference in the lives of the people we serve. Even though our budget may be tight, I ask you to make the people and their priorities your priority.

Source: 2001 State of the State Address to VA General Assembly , Jan 10, 2001

No national sales tax or VAT.

Gilmore adopted the National Governors Association policy:

Source: NGA Executive Committee Policy Statement EC-9 00-NGA1 on Feb 15, 2000

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Page last updated: Mar 12, 2016