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Allen: Reduce taxes, cut business regulations
Republican primary for U.S. Senate candidate profile
Friday, June 8, 2012
By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer
(Editor’s note: Former Sen. George Allen and Jamie Radtke are two of the four candidates in Tuesday’s Republican primary. Del. Bob Marshall and E.W. Jackson were featured in Thursday’s Bulletin.)
The key to creating new jobs is reducing taxes and regulations imposed on businesses, according to former governor and U.S. senator George Allen.
If he is elected to the Senate in November, Allen said, his goal will be to “get government off the backs and out of the pockets” of businesses.
Small businesses especially need that, he said, because they are responsible for two-thirds of the nation’s jobs yet are the least likely to be able to afford to pay high taxes and deal with bureaucracy.
Allen was in the Senate from 2001 to 2007, when he was defeated by U.S. Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va. Now, Allen is seeking to regain that seat.
He is running in Tuesday’s Republican primary against Del. Bob Marshall, tea party activist Jamie Radtke and minister E.W. Jackson. The winner of the primary will face former Democratic governor Tim Kaine in the Nov. 6 election.
Webb decided not to seek a second term in Congress.
In a phone interview, Allen said the United States has a “very complicated tax system” that forces some businesses to have to pay as much as 35 percent of their income in taxes while others pay little or nothing.
Although “everyone ought to pay” something, America needs reforms that reduce taxes on businesses that create jobs, he emphasized.
Allen said he would not vote to increase any taxes.
Reducing the cost of gas and other forms of energy also would entice businesses to create jobs because they would have more money to spend, said Allen.
To reduce energy costs, he supports allowing Virginia and other coastal states to drill for oil and natural gas offshore.
“We need more American production” of energy because the greater the supply, the lower the cost, he said. “It’s that simple.”
Allen also supports the Keystone XL pipeline project. The northern portion of the project recently was blocked by President Obama.
The pipeline would enable “a secure and growing supply” of American and Canadian crude oil to be sent to U.S. refineries, reducing dependence on oil from nations with ties to terrorists, according to Allen’s campaign website.
Allen favors repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known informally as “Obamacare.” The legislation, which Obama signed into law in 2010, generally forces people to have some type of health insurance. Some states, including Virginia, have challenged its legality.
Allen said he favors replacing it with a system that encourages people to start “personalized health savings accounts.” Such accounts help people with high-deductible insurance plans pay their medical bills by setting aside money that the federal government cannot tax when it is deposited.
He also said he supports providing lower-income households with tax credits to help them pay for insurance, as well as allowing small businesses “to band together across state lines” to take part in risk pools. The latter could help businesses lower their insurance costs, he said.
Asked whether he would favor reducing the amount of money allocated to programs such as Medicaid, Allen responded that he would not favor expanding any type of welfare programs.
Public assistance should not “reward idle behavior” by being “a permanent way of life,” Allen said. “Able-bodied and able-minded people should work.”
He said, however, that savings realized in public assistance programs could be spent on efforts to “reinvigorate our economy.”
Also, Allen said, he favors reducing the federal work force through attrition, such as not replacing employees who retire or quit their jobs.
He indicated that he thinks federal jobs mostly are needed in the fields of defense and national security.
Allen said he thinks he did more good things for Virginia during his four years as governor than Kaine did in that office.
For instance, Allen said he froze tuition at state-supported colleges, but “tuition skyrocketed” while Kaine was governor.
Many young people today are not getting jobs in which they can fully use their talents, Allen said, indicating that college costs and a faltering economy are largely to blame.
Overall, “I want to provide leadership to get our country moving in the right direction again,” Allen said, explaining why he is running for the Senate.