A Closer Look: Dalton won't promise not to raise taxes as Governor
Lieutenant Governor Walter Dalton talked taxes during an interview with WECT
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) – Walter Dalton was in the middle of planning a campaign for re-election as Lieutenant Governor, when he says he got a phone call from Beverly Perdue. The incumbent Governor told him she was not planning to run for a second term.
"We had very little notice," Dalton said in an interview with WECT's Jon Evans. "Fifteen minutes before she (Gov. Perdue) announced she was not going to run, she called me and told me, and we quickly made the decision to jump in the race."
Dalton changed course, and began a campaign for the top political seat in Raleigh. He defeated all challengers in a hotly contested primary, including former Congressman Bob Etheridge, to become the Democratic Party nominee. Now he is focused on taking on leading opponent Pat McCrory, the Republican nominee.
Taxes continue to be the top issue between the two candidates. Websites for both Dalton and McCrory take aim at the other's record when it comes to voting to increase taxes, McCrory as the former Mayor of Charlotte, and Dalton as a member of the state senate.
The incumbent Lieutenant Governor stopped short of telling citizens he would not raise taxes if elected as the next Governor. "No, I would not make that type of promise," Dalton said during an interview in the WECT studios on Tuesday. "If you look at my history in the Senate, I voted for a lot of tax reductions like the elimination of the food tax, I co-sponsored the bill to create a sales tax holiday, and I voted to reduce the corporate rate. But, I have voted to increase some taxes. You have to look at where you are in time, and what can happen."
During his campaign, Dalton is critical of cuts made by Republicans in the General Assembly to balance the 2012-2013 budget and close a deficit that topped two billion dollars. "At a time we need to create jobs, at a time when Virginia's Republican Governor was asking for more money, (Governor) Nikki Haley in South Carolina is putting out a lot of money to recruit jobs, they were cutting our economic recruitment funds. I think that was wrong," Dalton said. "They said they were going to cut fraud and waste, and they cut economic development and education. That's not the way I would define fraud and waste."
Dalton said he would have favored what he called a more "reasonable" approach proposed by Democrats, which included $1.6 billion in cuts, and $800 million in new revenue generated by extending the temporary sales tax increase. When asked ‘when does the time come to stop asking the citizens of North Carolina to pay more taxes?', Dalton bristled and said it would not be "more taxes". "That tax was put on to – quote "get us through the tough times". What I see when I travel North Carolina is, we are still in tough times. We are not through the tough times. Now, I am fine if there is another revenue source or if you can truly define what I consider to be "fraud and waste". But I do not consider cuts to funds for economic development in rural areas that are still in double-digit unemployment. That's not fraud and waste."
Dalton continues to push McCrory to release tax records from the time he joined the Moore and Van Allen law firm, asking for an explanation of exactly what the nominee's job entailed. McCrory says he has released all of the records required of a candidate.
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