Former governor and U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine held a roundtable discussion with defense contractors today in Fairfax County to discuss his strategies to strengthen the economy, responsibly address the federal budget deficit, and avoid the looming sequestration cuts. During the 90-minute meeting with more than a dozen Northern Virginia defense contractors, Kaine emphasized the need for Congress to come together to reach a balanced, long-term, compromise solution to responsibly address our deficit and prevent the scheduled sequestration cuts because of their disproportionate negative impact on Virginia's economy and businesses.
"This sequestration issue is a terrible indictment of Washington and of Congress," Kaine told the group of contractors. "Nobody is willing to compromise even when the prospect of a fiscal cliff and uncertainty is clearly affecting the economy. Instead, legislators are playing chicken with each other and holding the economy and our workers and our businesses hostage. There are two philosophies about how to deal with these fiscal issues. One is promoted by my opponent, which says you deal with these problems all through cuts. I believe you address it through significant cuts but also new revenues and investments that help grow the economy.
During the meeting, Kaine laid out his approach to reducing the deficit and preventing sequestration by using the same strategies he employed to keep Virginia's budget balanced during the worst national recession in 70 years. Throughout this campaign, Kaine has laid out a balanced approach to fiscal challenges that combines significant, targeted budget cuts with revenues generated by closing loopholes, ending subsidies to big oil companies, and allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire for income over $500,000. This approach would move the budget toward balance while protecting Virginia jobs and allowing for investments in priorities like education, infrastructure, and workforce development.
"What the Senate needs more than anything is the fresh and creative thinking that Tim Kaine will bring. With over 200,000 jobs on the line in Virginia, and the economic shifts due to the drawdown, and the impact of the sequester looming nationally, Governor Kaine's experience in approaching fiscal challenges in a balanced way is sorely needed in Washington," said Varun Nikore, a defense contractor who attended today's roundtable in Fairfax County.
Kaine also contrasted his fiscal record with George Allen's. During Allen's last term in the Senate, he helped turn a record surplus into a massive deficit and voted to add more than $3 trillion to the national debt, contributing to the national economic crisis. Kaine, in contrast, was the only governor in modern times to leave office with a smaller general fund budget than when he entered, and cut more than $5 billion in spending while investing in key priorities like early childhood education and workforce training. Kaine's commitment to Virginia's workforce development and sound fiscal management helped the commonwealth earn recognition as Forbes' "Best State for Business" four years in a row, Governing magazine's Best Managed State, and Education Week's best state to raise a child.
"There are things I have learned about Virginia's economic success that I would take the federal level," said Kaine. "I was governor during the worst recession since the 1930s and I gained experience and learned a lot along the way on budgeting and economic issues. During my term, we were listed by Forbes as the best state for business in America all four years."
Since the beginning of the year, Kaine has held more than 70 economic roundtable discussions around Virginia with business and community leaders to share his strategies to create jobs and strengthen the economy.