With Democrat Roy Carter and Republican Dan Soucek campaigning to represent District 45 in the N.C. Senate, which includes Ashe, the Post submitted several questions to the candidates.
1. Give us your biography: County of residence, career, spouse and children.
Carter: I live in beautiful Ashe County with my wife of 47 years, Patricia Carter. We have three children, Andrea, Todd and Stacy, and two wonderful grandchildren, Tristen and Eva. I am retired from 42 years of teaching and coaching in public schools in the mountains of North Carolina.
Soucek: I am a Watauga County resident. My wife Kim and I have been married for 20 years next month. We have three kids: Isaac (11), Janie (8) and, Lucy (5). I spent eight years active duty with the U.S. Army and 12 years in ministry with Young Life and Samaritan’s Purse. I am currently an entrepreneur; medical consulting, Christmas trees, rental properties.
2. Do you support tax cuts/breaks for companies that outsource jobs? Explain.
Carter: No. We must not offer incentives to companies that cost our residents job opportunities. When in office I will strive to do everything I can do to bring jobs back to Ashe, Alleghany, Watauga, Avery and Caldwell. This must start with returning funds to education. Companies simply will not come to area with an underfunded public education system. We need to establish a coalition of business and community colleges to keep our schools strong.
Soucek: I don’t believe in tax incentives or policies where the government picks winners and losers in business. I support and am currently working on a complete overhaul of our outdated tax code. I believe the solution to your question lies in a greatly simplified code that is revenue neutral that will promote economic growth. The key issue here is for North Carolina to have a regulatory and tax environment that encourages business to move to North Carolina and allows our existing businesses to thrive here rather than be driven out of the state or country.
3. Although deficit reduction is an issue for the federal government, what do you think is the best strategy to reduce the United States $16 trillion national debt?
Carter: Unfortunately, deficit reduction is in the hands of the federal government, but here in North Carolina I firmly believe that economic recovery must be education based. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; education is the fulcrum that drives our economy. Our strong public schools and community colleges will entice people to come work and companies to develop in the area.
Soucek: We must cut spending, live within our means and grow our economy. If our government reduces regulations, reduces taxes and moves aggressively toward domestic energy independence, our economy will grow rapidly. This not only increases revenue, but reduces the need for government programs and spending.
4. How can North Carolina grow as a state?
Carter: By funding education and helping the family farm to our full abilities. While financial services and biotech manufacturing drive economies down east, the 45th District relies on agriculture, tourism, education and furniture. I will ensure that tax reform is fairer, more efficient and less harmful to economic growth than the so-called small business tax credit. This tax credit was poorly thought out, opened up more big business/special interest loopholes and cost our state $336 million in revenue. This loss of revenue is killing public education. Tax reform mustn’t come at the expense of our children, they are not “waste.” I will never allow the budget to be balanced on the backs of our college students; I will protect the family farm and the tax preferences farmers receive that allow them to stay competitive. I want to reform North Carolina’s upside down tax system; currently, our lowest income families pay the highest share of their income (9.5 percent) in state taxes while the top 1 percent pays the lowest (6.8 percent). I believe, like the father of modern capitalism Adam Smith, that our state tax revenues should be based on those with means to pay.
Soucek: The answer to this question is covered in my previous two responses: jobs and the economy. When our families and business thrive, so many things will improve. Crime rates go down, we can improve our education system, and people can pursue and fulfill their dreams.