On a day when most of the political world was captivated by the Supreme Court’s health-care ruling, the technology executives wanted to hear from the candidates on issues that hit close to home.
In their first appearance since the primary this month, both men bragged about the companies attracted to Virginia during their tenures as governor and about their close relationships with the technology industry. The two spoke generally about the need for a simpler tax code with lower rates for companies and individuals, although they differed on specifics.
They also touted their ability to work across party lines. Allen repeatedly mentioned his work with his “really good friend” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) on technology issues when he was in the Senate. And Kaine said: “You see Democrats who will demonize business. I don’t do that. You see Republicans who demonize labor. I don’t do that.”
But they contrasted sharply on the issue of budget “sequestration” and the massive defense cuts that loom if Congress is unable to strike a bipartisan agreement this year.
Kaine said the Senate’s “Gang of Six” — which is led in part by a close ally of his, Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) — “should work very hard to put out a plan” to solve the fiscal impasse in the next few months, to help spur discussion on Capitol Hill and in the presidential race. “It will be the one bipartisan idea on the table, and it will have enormous power,” Kaine said.
Allen said sequestration — across-the-board cuts set to hit in January — should be “reversed as quickly as possible,” but he did not say how he would address the pending cuts in the short term.
“The only long-term reform that’s going to work is a balanced budget [amendment]. . . . Otherwise you’re going to get more of these Band-Aid approaches,” Allen said.
The Senate hopefuls were asked their views on whether companies selling goods online should have to pay sales taxes in states where they don’t have offices or stores. Allen was opposed to changing the law.
“My view is we ought to stick
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