Former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine said he would be “open to a proposal” that would require everyone to pay some minimum amount of federal income taxes.
Kaine made the remarks at a Senate debate Thursday with his Republican opponent, former Virginia Gov. George Allen. The debate was hosted by NBC and moderated by David Gregory.
“Do you believe that everyone in Virginia should pay something in federal income tax?” Gregory asked Kaine.
“I would be open to a proposal that would have some minimum tax level for everyone,” Kaine said.
The question was asked as a follow-up to one about Mitt Romney’s comments that 47 percent of Americans are “dependent” on government and see themselves as “victims” who are “entitled” to services like healthcare. Mother Jones first published the leaked comments earlier this week.
Regarding those comments, Kaine said: “I really, deeply disagree with the sentiment expressed by Governor Romney.”
The “minimum tax” statement is a break from the former DNC chairman’s previous statements. In an ad released Wednesday, he proposed letting the Bush tax cuts expire only for those making over $500,000. President Barack Obama has proposed that the threshold for expiration be those making over $250,000.
But the statement gives Allen an opening to attack Kaine both for wanting to raise taxes, and allows him play the populist, siding with the poor, who comprise many of the people who do not pay income taxes.
“Virginians heard liberal Tim Kaine loud and clear today – his solution to 43 straight months of unemployment above 8 percent is to raise taxes on everyone, regardless of their income levels or economic struggles. Remarkable,” commented Brian Walsh, National Republican Senatorial Committee Communications Director.
The most recent poll, released by FOX News this week, has Kaine leading Allen, 47 to 43 percent.