No one can say former governors Tim Kaine and George Allen aren’t stroking small businesses as they campaign to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Jim Webb. Kaine was in Herndon yesterday to hold a town hall meeting with employees of Fibertek, an advanced manufacturing facility, and Allen was in Alexandria today for a roundtable with small business owners.
“Fibertek is a great example of what Virginia has done right and what the nation needs to do right if we’re going to strengthen our economy,” said Kaine. “Once we decided that talent was important we grew our own talent, attracted talent from around the world, and then attracted companies that want to be around talented people. At the national level we need to recommit to having the world’s most talented workforce.”
During the conversation, Kaine outlined â€œInvesting in Our Workers,â€ a workforce development agenda that extends his commitment to developing a globally competitive workforce. Kaine shared strategies to spur economic growth and ensure long-term competitiveness through investments and reforms in education and training, including improving standards for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) curriculums and emphasizing career and technical education. Throughout the event, Kaine also listened to ideas from workers about how to strengthen the economy, support startup businesses, and leverage international assets, like the nearby Dulles International Airport.
In Alexandria, small business owners shared with Allen their view that excessive regulation from Washington makes business more expensive.
â€œAs a small business owner, I wish Washington would walk a mile in my shoes and understand what itâ€™s like to balance a budget under the taxes, regulations and energy costs theyâ€™ve created,â€ said Vanessa Wheeler, owner of Holly, Woods and Vines. â€œI donâ€™t want to be controlled by the government. George Allen understands we canâ€™t spend money we donâ€™t have, tax hikes donâ€™t create jobs, and more regulations mean less money to live on. Iâ€™m glad to know that George Allen will be a voice for small businesses like mine who need less government and more freedom.â€
â€œSmall businesses are the key to more jobs in our community, and they should have a government working with them, not against them,â€ Allen said. â€œYet Washington aims to raise taxes on hard-working people and small businesses â€“ a job-destroying proposal coming from a Congress that hasnâ€™t finalized a budget in years. With 41 consecutive months of national unemployment over 8 percent and underemployment around 18 percent, the last thing Congress should do is raise taxes. Iâ€™m ready to bring to the U.S. Senate my proven record of bipartisan leadership for more fair tax laws, reasonable regulations, productive American energy freedom and empowering education policies to help create the jobs our communities need.â€
Who’s more balanced?
Kaine also stressed the need for a balanced approach to the nation’s fiscal challenges and contrasted his record as governor with Allen’s. As governor, Kaine cut more than $5 billion in state spending and Forbes magazine named Virginia the â€œBest State for Businessâ€ all four years he held office. In the Senate, Allen helped add more than $3 trillion to the national debt and turned a record surplus into a massive deficit, Kaine said.
“When I was governor I had to make significant cuts to keep the state’s budget balanced and I learned the right way to do it,” said Kaine. “If we try to address our deficit only though cuts we’re going to devastate the economy, particularly in Virginia, and we will endanger important priorities like defense, education, and Medicare. If we do it through a balanced approach of cuts and revenues, we will make the cuts we need while retaining the flexibility to invest in areas that will grow the economy.”
Since the beginning of the year, Kaine has held more than 65 economic roundtables around the state to hear from Virginians and share his strategies for creating jobs and strengthening the economy. Allen launched his “Virginia Voices” tour in June.
â€œSusan and I and our family live in the Mount Vernon area,â€ said George Allen, â€œand all our children are in or attended Fairfax County public schools, so we are acutely aware of the challenges facing small businesses and families in our community. We know that taxes, regulations, fuel prices, congested roads and transportation, and schools are what families talk most about at their kitchen tables in Fairfax County.