Virginia U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine wants to help “level the playing field” and make loans more accessible to small businesses.
He laid out his plan to do as much during a walking tour of local businesses — one of many he said he's been doing around the state — Monday in downtown Fairfax with state Sen. Chap Petersen (D-34th District).
"One of the things I hear over and over again is small businesses have a hard time accessing capital — getting loans," Kaine said outside the Greene Turtle on University Drive. "The economy has been challenging and with the fiscal collapse and in the aftermath it's been harder for small businesses."
Kaine said he thought smaller, local banks were being affected unnecessarily by regulations placed on Wall Street heavyweights, a problem that might be discouraging the smaller banks from lending to local businesses.
"They weren't the ones that caused the fiscal collapse and they shouldn't be overly regulated, so those are the kinds of things I'd like to look at that will then free up more loan capital for small businesses," he said.
He said if he gets elected, he'd look at federal corporate income tax and expanding procurement opportunities.
"Small-business [owners] will read that GE doesn't pay federal corporate income tax, but they're paying federal corporate income tax, and they're like, 'Hey, how is that fair?'" he said. "I think it's very likely that the next Congress will start with some big picture tax reform issues."
Kaine is locked in a dead heat with fellow former Virginia governor George Allen for the senate seat Sen. Jim Webb will vacate when he retires; he wants to make sure local voters take note of their race before heading to the polls in November.
"We do a lot of business roundtables and a lot of walking tours just to hear what's on people's minds and make sure they remember there's a senate race, too," he said. "They all know there's a presidential race."
Lyn Adams, owner of Christian bookstore on Main Street, had posters supporting Chris Perkins for Congress in the window of her shop. But she said she hadn't made up her mind about the Senate race yet.
"I vote for whoever I think is the best man," she said. "I try to vote intelligently."
She did say, though, she was happy to see Kaine and Petersen stop by.
"It means a lot," she said.