The candidates for NC House District 2 took to the stage Sunday at the Dare County League of Women Voters Candidate Reception in Kitty Hawk. The two present starkly different pictures of the state of our State and offer different solutions to our lagging state economy.

Bob Steinburg

Bob Steinburg (R) was the first to speak.  He spent the majority of his time at the podium citing fact after fact showing that North Carolina is a state in trouble.  He stated that in the last ten years, we have lost 133,000 jobs, making us the 9th worst performing state in the country.  He attacked his opponent’s record frequently.  He pointed out that Mr. Spear and the Democrats voted to increase taxes by over $1 Billion in 2009.  This in a state that already has the highest corporate taxes in the Southeast, the highest personal taxes in the Southeast and the 10th highest personal taxes in the country.  Steinburg went after Spear’s support of job development investment grants.  These are grants handed out by the state to help create jobs.  He pointed out that 95% to the grants when to the richest counties in the state while only 5% went to the poorest.  House District 2 represents some of the poorest counties in the State.  Bob, as his supporters expected, went slightly over his allotted time, saying at the end “We’ve got a lot of work to do.  We need to cut taxes; personal taxes and corporate taxes and we need to lower regulation.”

Representative Tim Spear

Representative Tim Spear (D) said that Mr Steinburg “must be talking about two different North Carolinas”.  He cited a Kipplinger Magazine article from 2009 which stated that North Carolina was the best state for retirees.  He said that 5,000 new jobs were created in June alone.  He defended his support for targeted incentives saying, “The economic incentive policies that we have in place are working.”  He pointed to Caterpillar which recently created new jobs in Forsyth and Lee Counties.  Changing gears, Mr. Spear spelled out how the majority of our state revenue is spent.  57% goes to Education, 23% to Health and Human Services and 13% to Justice and Public Safety.  He said that cuts could be made to HHS if we wanted to cut programs like Meals on Wheels.  Cuts in public safety could be made if we wanted to ‘close down prisons and turn people loose’.  Although not completely opposed to spending cuts, Mr. Spear is not in favor of across the board spending cuts saying instead, “I think the cuts need to be made carefully by Department Heads and by the Secretaries…”