A new ad from Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli II (R) accuses his Democratic opponent of pushing an agenda of promises that would cost every family of four at least $1,700 in new taxes.

The 18-second TV spot says Terry McAuliffe’s platform – which includes bolstering teacher pay, expanding preschool, restoring cuts to higher education, improving transportation, and other initiatives – would cost approximately $14 billion without saying how he would pay for it.

“What’s Terry McAuliffe offering Virginia families?” the ad asks. “False, misleading attacks. Massive, wasteful spending. And $1,700 in higher taxes every year. Terry McAuliffe: deeply unserious.”

A McAuliffe campaign spokesman dismissed the ad as a sign of desperation with Cuccinelli lagging in polls just 18 days before Election Day and said the McLean businessman has no plans to raise any taxes.

“Desperate and losing support from even fellow Republicans, Ken Cuccinelli is now lowering himself to simply fabricating numbers,” said McAuliffe spokesman Josh Schwerin said in an e-mail.

McAuliffe has said his administration can carry out his agenda by exploiting unspecified efficiencies in the budget and saving $500 million a year by expanding Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act.

Cuccinelli, citing sources such as the Commonwealth Institute, has accused McAuliffe of exaggerating the amount of Medicaid money Virginia would have available under the Affordable Care Act. Cuccinelli, who is the state’s attorney general, said McAuliffe has also ignored signs that the General Assembly is unlikely any time soon to expand the state- and federally subsidized health-care program for low-income families.

McAuliffe and his allies have characterized the centerpiece of Cuccinelli’s economic plan – a $1.4 billion tax cut that relies on eliminating unspecified loopholes and tax expenditures – as a giveaway to the rich that would gut many state programs. Democrats have also challenged Cuccinelli to spell out the tax loopholes he would eliminate.

“Terry is not proposing any tax increases but Cuccinelli’s radical $1.4 billion tax scheme would cause a budget crisis in Virginia because Cuccinelli refuses to say how he would pay for it,” Schwerin said. “Republicans and Democrats have criticized Cuccinelli’s dangerous and extreme plan for harm it could cause to education and public safety in the Commonwealth.”