(Raleigh News Observer) A defining question in the governor’s race will affect the pocketbooks of every North Carolina resident: Who should pay taxes and how much?
Democrat Walter Dalton and Republican Pat McCrory are traveling the state touting wildly different tax plans as part of their pitch to revive the state’s economy and remedy the persistently high jobless rate.
Dalton offers modest tweaks to the tax code with a combination of incentives and tax breaks, while McCrory is pushing for a complete overhaul that could shift the state’s tax burden by billions of dollars.
“I think the tax issue has replaced education as the top issue, as it was during the Hunt, Easley, and, to a lesser extent, Perdue campaigns, because state races have become nationalized,” said David McLennan, a political science professor at William Peace University, referencing the last three governors. “Since Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980, every winning presidential candidate is the one perceived to be the one most able to cut taxes. What we are seeing is McCrory tapping into that trend and the public’s sentiment that lower taxes benefit the economy.”
Dalton, the current lieutenant governor, wants to offer small businesses a break by exempting the first $25,000 in corporate taxable income for businesses making $100,000 or less and the first $15,000 for those making $200,000 or less.
His plan includes a $2,000 tax credit for businesses that hire long-term unemployed workers and supports the extension of a federal wind energy tax break.
“I think it goes a long way toward putting people back to work,” he said.
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