RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - As candidates get into campaign mode they often will find opportunities to put words or ideas into their opponents' mouths. It looks like that happened recently when Tim Kaine made a claim about his potential opponent in the race for Virginia Senate, George Allen.
Kaine was reacting to news from Texas governor Rick Perry's campaign for president. Perry unveiled a plan to scrap the current tax code in favor of a 20% across the board flat tax, the result of which means a reduction in federal revenues of almost $5 trillion.
George Allen too offered up a flat tax but was murky about just how high that flat tax should be. Kaine picked a number 17% and made this claim:
"That means Allen's plan would actually shrink revenues further than the Perry plan, forcing even harsher cuts to programs that Virginians depend on."
Is that true? Is Allen proposing even deeper cuts? Not so fast claims the reporters at Politifact. This claim is false.
Here is the problem. Allen actually never offers the specific percentage his flat tax would be. He gave a wide range of options from as little as 17% to as much as 25%.
But other than a hypothetical scenario tossed out a press event, he has never offered 17% as the concrete figure Kaine is basing his claim on.
Even though Allen is being vague, Politifact reporter Sean Gorman believes that is not enough for Kaine to take the leap that he did.
"You'd need to know some details, like what level of deductions and what level of exemptions Allen is seeking. Allen hasn't provided any of those details so Kaine goes a little too far in making this statement," Gorman said.
The Kaine campaign responded to the PolitiFact Virginia report:
"Senator Allen has repeatedly and consistently told Virginia voters he would support a 17% optional flat tax. For his advisers to now claim he has no 'plan' is just their attempt to hide Allen's radical position. But, Allen's own words are crystal clear: if re-elected he would enact a 17% optional flat tax -- a tax that would have disastrous consequences for the American economy, likely forcing huge cuts to defense, education, Social Security and Medicare." -Brandi Hoffine, Kaine for Senate