U.S. senatorial candidate visits

Published 3:56 pm Wednesday, July 13, 2011

U.S. Senate candidate and former Virginia Gov. George Allen, left, accepts a Fred's Restaurant shirt from Fred and David Rabil after he spoke at a Franklin Southampton Republican Party function at the establishment. DALE LIESCH/TIDEWATER NEWS

FRANKLIN—Jobs and the economy are the biggest issues facing Western Tidewater, said former Gov. George Allen during a Wednesday campaign stop in Franklin.

Allen, a Republican running for the U.S. Senate seat he lost five years ago, said international competition, unnecessary government regulations and rising energy costs contributed to the closure of the International Paper mill in Franklin.

“We need to make sure that job-creating businesses have an advantage,” Allen said after meeting members of the Franklin Southampton Republican Party at Fred’s Restaurant.

He added, however, that recent announcements of plans to repurpose the mill will help mitigate the effect, and the area should have the resources necessary to attract new business.

Allen said the area’s proximity to major ports, lower energy costs and natural resources are positives for job growth.

“This is a great area for business,” Allen said.

To help job-creating businesses, he proposed cutting taxes. U.S. businesses pay a corporate income tax rate of 35 percent. This figure is the second worst in the world. The average is 25 percent.

“The U.S. ought to be better than average,” Allen said.

Cutting corporate taxes to 20 percent would create 500,000 new jobs, he said.

Allen told the group a key to lowering energy costs and putting people back to work would be to release some of the country’s energy resources. He would like to see an end to the moratorium on offshore drilling along the Gulf Coast and the coast of Virginia.

Allen, who is running for the seat held by a retiring Jim Webb, said that if the country’s energy resources, including oil, coal and natural gas, were completely released, it would result in more than $1 trillion in revenue without raising taxes.

Allen said cutting spending and a balanced budget amendment are among the ways to deal with the budget deficit facing the country.

“We are loading future generations with an overwhelming amount of debt,” Allen said.

The former governor said the 2012 general election is just as important as the general election in 1980 was for the country, adding that Virginia would play a pivotal role in deciding which party — Republicans or Democrats — would have control.

“We have a chance to shape history,” Allen told the group.