PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) - Possible mandatory cuts to our nation's defense budget are looming large one day before Virginians go to the polls.
Those cuts could go into effect if a budget compromise isn't worked out, which could have a dramatic effect on the local economy. Everyone knows how important Virginia is in determining a winner in the presidential election and Virginians, especially those in Hampton Roads, know that defense spending accounts of the lion's share of this region's economy. That makes the candidates' positions on sequestration one of the determining factors in how Virginians will vote.
Both President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney have made numerous campaign appearances in Hampton Roads, but the position of both men when it comes to sequestration has remained unchanged.
"Congress agreed that they wanted to make $1.2 trillion worth of cuts," President Obama has said. "And a big chunk of that is defense. Now, what we've said is if you were willing Republicans to ask the wealthy to pay a little bit more, then we don't have to worry about these draconian defense cuts."
"I think it's time for [Obama] to come clean and let us know what kind of cuts he's planning on putting in place," Gov. Romney said.
Gov. Romney says he will not allow sequestration to happen. He is looking to raise revenue by reducing spending rather than increasing taxes on the rich.
"I eliminate programs that are not absolutely essential," Romney said. "Obamacare is one of them. It costs $100 billion a year. Number two, I take other federal programs and send them back to the states with the dollars, so like Medicare, food stamps, housing vouchers, they go back to the states where they grow at inflation or inflation plus one percent. That saves about another $100 billion a year."
"On the other hand, if we're not getting any new revenues, then everybody's going to be hurting," President Obama said. "So what I've called on congress to do is let's make sure the taxes don't go up for people making $250,000 a year or less. For folks like me who can afford it, we can do a little bit more. And it part, that allows us to reduce our deficit and maintain a strong military."
Interesting to note, in the Virginia senate race, democratic candidate Tim Kaine has offered a compromise on the president's tax proposal. Kaine says if elected to the senate, he would propose raising taxes on those making $500,000 a year or more instead of $250,000 annually. His republican opponent, George Allen, favors the Romney approach of cutting spending, primarily the affordable healthcare act, although Allen says he does favor making provisions that prevent insurance companies from denying coverage on preexisting conditions.
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