Tim Kaine: Friend or Foe to Small Business?

Date: August 02, 2016 Last Edit: August 03, 2016

The VP nominee has backed a minimum wage hike but has also fought the estate tax. Where else does he stand?

Hillary Clinton’s running mate has been called a “pro-business Democrat,” but what does Tim Kaine’s small business record mean for owners if the pair are elected to the White House in November? 

Kaine has a long history of public service. It began in 1994 when he was elected to the Richmond, Virginia, city council. He then became mayor of Richmond before getting elected as Virginia’s lieutenant governor in 2001.


He served as governor of Virginia from 2006 to 2010, and in 2012 voters elected him to his current position in the Senate. These roles provide small business owners a peek into what Kaine has—or hasn’t—done for them in office, and what he might do in the future. 

As governor, he signed a letter along with 21 other governors pushing for federal healthcare reform, Chief Executive reported. Ever since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law in 2010, Kaine has been a fervent supporter, and he backs Clinton’s vision to improve the law. 

Earlier this year, he co-sponsored the States Achieve Medicaid Expansion Act in the Senate, which provides additional incentives for the 19 states that don’t participate in Obamacare exchanges to do so, according to Chief Executive. But Kaine has a more moderate record when it comes to taxes. 

Kaine signed three tax-holiday bills into law during his tenure as governor, giving consumers and small businesses a small reprieve from the sales tax under certain circumstances, The Christian Science Monitor reported. The state recently combined these holidays into one weekend. 

The Virginia senator breaks from the majority of Democrats on one issue that’s nagged small businesses for some time: the estate tax. Although Clinton wants to increase the federal estate tax, Kaine supported the repeal of Virginia’s estate tax while serving as governor, according to The Christian Science Monitor. But the potential vice president shifts back to the left on another critical issue for small business owners. 

In 2015, Kaine introduced legislation to raise the federal minimum wage to $12 by 2020, and he supports Clinton’s mission to increase it as well. Many business owners have been vocal about the fact that an increase in the minimum wage would significantly hurt their ability to stay solvent. 

Kaine has a 17 percent rating from NFIB on small business issues.

*Note: This news coverage does not equate to an endorsement of any candidate by NFIB.

Photo credit: Barbara Kinney for Hillary for America


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