Three more sleeps until Election Day. As of yesterday, Nearly 790,000 Virginians have cast early ballots, a number that is more than double the 344,594 early votes cast in all of 2018. Thanks to the Virginia Public Access Project for providing that data.
The main item on the ballot across all of Virginia are elections for the Commonwealth’s eleven seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. In the week leading up November 8, I’ve been inserting segments from campaign conversations held with the two candidates in the Fifth Congressional District.
Both Republican incumbent Bob Good and Democratic challenger Josh Throneburg participated in video interviews conducted by the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Danville-Pittsylvania Chamber of Commerce, and the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance.
Previous installments were the campaign opening statements as well as a question on national security.
Here are links to the two complete videos:
Today, three questions related to taxation. There are three questions in all and they are asked by Anne Moore-Sparks, the president and CEO of the Danville-Pittsylvania Chamber of Commerce.
“Congressman, do you support raising the corporate tax rate above 21 percent,” Moores-Sparks asked.
“Absolutely not,” Good responded. “ I am hyper anti tax, quite frankly. We do not have a revenue problem in this country. We have a spending problem… I mean ,$31 trillion national debt, the greatest percent of debt relative to our GDP since World War Two, it’s causing massive inflation. It’s bankrupting our future. It is one of the most critical threats to our country, certainly fiscally is our national debt and our spending. But we’re collecting $4.1 trillion a year in revenue…
“The Trump Tax Cuts and Job Act of 2017 did what almost always does when we lower taxes, it almost always increases revenue. And it certainly did that again, this time, we’re collecting more revenue than ever. In the meantime, we’re trying to hire an additional 87,000 IRS agents to go after regular Americans to increase the number of audits on regular Americans, which are already audited, lower middle income Americans are audited five times the rate of wealthier Americans, there’s not enough millionaires and billionaires to keep 87,000 new IRS agents busy. And so they’ll be going after regular Americans…
“No, I’m against the raising of the corporate tax rate, but to even to prove that as far as they’re gonna go after regular Americans with the IRS weaponized against citizens, as you all may know, with the Inflation Iincrease Act [sic] that was passed, the nearly trillion dollar spending boondoggle that was passed…
“In August, the Republicans had an amendment to that, that you could increase the audience of Americans making less than 400,000, because the administration said they’re not going to increase taxes of those making less than 400,000. And we couldn’t get one Democrat vote. And so that amendment did fail…
“But I’m absolutely against increasing taxes, we need to cut spending, we can never tax our way to prosperity, we can never tax our way to fiscal balance, there will never be enough money to do that. And we’re hurting, you know, middle and lower income Americans as it is with our tax structure.
Now let’s hear the response from Candidate Josh Throneburg after hearing the question again from Anne Moore-Sparks.
“Do you support or oppose raising the corporate tax rate above 21 percent?” Moore-Sparks asked.
“So I would love to keep it at 21 percent if we can do all that we need to do. Probably where I fit into the whole political spectrum in it, you know, it would go a little bit issue by issue…
“I guess a little bit of background, just to throw in here. You know, I grew up in a very rural read conservative Republican family and community, in a world where it was just like taxes was the thing, keep taxes low, keep taxes low, keep taxes low. And I think I’m, you know, there’s probably remnants of that…
“One of the things that’s a little different about me, if you ever go to my main web page or something, because I talk about national debt on the first page, which most Democrats maybe don’t bring up, but fiscal responsibility is really important to me. I think it’s right for us to make good fiscal decisions….
“So as long as we can pay our bills at 21 percent and, you know, when we can cover the things that the the other investments that we want to make, that’s fine. Again, my family has a large company, and we’re always trying to figure out how do we keep those taxes down, and I understand the motivation there, so I would be fine for that at the present…
“But I also am a common sense candidate, we have to be able to afford the things that we spend. And so if there are, you know, if we have to raise taxes in order to afford certain things, let’s say we were putting universal health care in and, you know, we needed to raise taxes a little bit to be able to provide coverage for that, I’m not always going to be tax opposed. But what I really, really want is to make good decisions, spend the money that we need to spend and not o waste, not to throw money away that we have to raise taxes to pay for. I think there’s a huge value for me in fiscal responsibility. And then our taxes will obviously be reflective of what our expenses are. I’d love to to lower 21 to 18 if we could or you know if we were making great fiscal decisions. But that, you know, we have to have some flexibility in our tax structure.”
And now the second question from Anne Moore-Sparks:
“Do you support or oppose increasing tax rates on corporations and small businesses as a means for paying new spending?” Moore-Sparks asked.
“I probably answered that pretty well on the last question, but you know, certainly not,” Good said. “You know, what the previous President did and lowering tax rates. You know, there’s a reason why we had such a strong economy over the previous four years and why we have such a weak economy…
“Now, when it comes to all the spending, that’s now we’re printing money, the last $2 trillion that we spent up to $6 trillion spent in the name of China virus, cause mass caused us to have to print we can even borrow it. We’ve got this president has $10 trillion in new spending in his first two years, which is far and away a record for any President. [He] has grown the national debt in two years by $3.4 trillion, far and away the most of any president in two years.
“Our answer is not to further penalize Americans. We’ve got massive inflation that’s causing them to lose purchasing power with 14 percent inflation… The inflation is even worse on the essentials like gas and in housing and cars and groceries and so forth. So the answer certainly is not to further penalize small businesses who are barely getting by.
“Think about what this administration has said to businesses… This president and his previous spokesperson, the president, [in the] State of the Union address said to businesses just lower your costs. Think about how fundamentally out of touch that is for the President to stay in the State of the Union address to tell businesses just lower your costs. The President doesn’t recognize that businesses do two things every day; try to increase revenue and try to control or lower their costs. And then Jen Psaki, his previous spokesperson said that if the business passes on its cost increases, its regulatory increase costs or tax increase costs were just the cost of goods and services passes… Tthey shouldn’t pass those on to their customers.
“And this administration, who has almost no business people in the administration doesn’t understand that businesses don’t have a printing press in the basement, like the federal government to increase revenue, they have to get it from their customers. So I’m certainly not in favor of increasing taxes.”
Then it was Throneburg’s turn.
“Do you support or oppose increasing tax rates on corporations and small businesses as a means for paying for new spending?” asked Anne Moore-Sparks.
“Generally no, but I will give one caveat to that,” Throneburg said. “I want to be a flexible thinker and responsive to what realities are. But if there are corporations that are what we call very large carbon polluters, that are pouring large amounts of carbon into our atmosphere, I am a strong believer in climate change and in human activity as a part of climate change. I believe that the costs of this country are going to continue going up and up and up and up in terms of disaster relief, what we see with, you know, fires and all of the incredible increase in costs…
“And I think that if you are somebody who is pushing huge amounts of carbon into our air, and exacerbating that issue, and increasing the costs to our country, that there should be a portion of responsibility that comes with that so…
“I would be flexible in how we address that, from a, you know, whether that was a carbon tax, or whether it was carbon incentives, or whatever it is, I’m flexible on the solutions. But I do think that if you are causing a substantial part of the problem, that you should also be a part of the solution. And so that would be the one kind of caveat to them.
“Do you support or oppose the implementation of an annual wealth tax?” asked Moore-Sparks.
“No, absolutely not,” Good responded. “ I don’t think we ought to further penalize prosperity or success. Again, when we lower taxes, it increases growth, development… Tthe rising tide does lift all boats. And I certainly actually want to cut taxes. I believe in it. I believe in the national sales tax would be best, quite frankly, I think it’s a great time to advocate for that…
“And we’ve got the Democrats again, wanting to increase the IRS investment, the IRS, again, double the number of IRS agents, by the way, in that 80 billion that was in the Inflation Increase. Act [sic] that was passed back in August, with only Democrat votes or virtually almost no Republican votes. Of the 80 billion for the IRS, only 4 billion of that was for services, tax services processing. In other words, the IRS is far behind in processing tax refunds. But yet we’ve got 45 billion of it was for enforcement. In other words to go after America, they’re estimating that it’ll help them collect another $200 billion in taxes on top of the 4.1 trillion they’re already collecting….
And then Throneburg’s response.
“ I was gonna try to get into all sorts of nuance, but that’s probably not super helpful,” Throneburg said. “No, I wouldn’t support an annual wealth tax.”
Before you go: The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. In fact, this particular installment comes from the November 5, 2022 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.