Virginia Gubernatorial Candidates Eye Cumbersome Tax Code

July 16, 2013

New Study Compares McAuliffe, Cuccinelli, Sarvis Proposals

Washington, D.C., July 16, 2013—The three candidates running in Virginia’s gubernatorial election this year have released preliminary details of their tax plans, and all three support reforming the state’s outdated and uncompetitive business taxes, according to a new analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Foundation.  

“The Virginia gubernatorial field has correctly eyed that one of the biggest problems with the state’s tax code is cumbersome local business taxes,” said Tax Foundation economist Scott Drenkard. “Many of Virginia’s other major taxes are ripe for reform as well, however, and

policymakers would do well to comprehensively examine the entire code.”

Voters in the Commonwealth of Virginia will have three options in November’s election for governor: former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe, current Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, and attorney and entrepreneur Robert Sarvis. Details of their respective plans are below. 

Terry McAuliffe (Democrat)

  • Give localities the option to reduce or eliminate the Business Professional Occupation Licensing (BPOL) tax, the Machinery and Tool tax, and the Merchants’ Capital tax
  • Create task force to identify new revenue sources for localities with aim of maintaining local revenue

 Ken Cuccinelli (Republican)

  • Eliminate or reduce the BPOL, the Machine and Tool Tax, and the Merchants’ Capital Tax, while maintaining local revenue
  • Reduce top individual income tax rate from 5.75 percent to 5 percent over 4 years
  • Reduce corporate income tax from 6 to 4 percent
  • Ensure government does not grow faster than inflation plus population growth

Robert Sarvis (Libertarian)

  • Eliminate the BPOL, Machinery and Tool Tax, Merchants Capital Tax, and Car Tax
  • Consider eliminating the individual income tax
  • Consider reforming property taxes to land-value or two-rate tax
  • Eliminate credits and deductions on remaining taxes
  • Repeal Governor McDonnell’s transportation plan from 2013 session and move instead toward electronic tolling and congestion fees to fund transportation infrastructure

Tax Foundation Fiscal Fact No. 376, “Virginia Gubernatorial Candidates Eye Cumbersome Tax Code” by Scott Drenkard, is available online.

The Tax Foundation is a nonpartisan research organization that has monitored fiscal policy at the federal, state and local levels since 1937. To schedule an interview, please contact Richard Morrison, the Tax Foundation’s Manager of Communications, at 202-464-5120 or

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