Truth or Dare sent interview questions to the candidates for NC House District 2.  Only Bob Steinburg has responded.  After giving Mr. Spear a week beyond the deadline to respond, it’s time to go to press.

I thank Mr. Steinburg for responding and giving the voters a chance to hear his position on the important issues facing our county.

North Carolina’s unemployment rate is close to 10%.  Only 14 other states have higher unemployment rates.  What contributes to North Carolina’s high rate and what can be done to bring jobs to our state and particularly to this District?

North Carolina from a tax and regulatory standpoint is not very business friendly. We have the highest corporate taxes in the Southeast, the highest personal taxes in the southeast (tenth highest in the nation) and too many regulations.

According to a Wall Street Journal article which ran on September 28 analyzing state revenue from just tax increases in 2010 alone, we fared very poorly. Only California and New York, two states on the verge of bankruptcy (so are we), had higher tax increases than we did. We were among the top nine states with increased sales taxes; among the top seven with increased personal taxes; among the top four with increased corporate taxes and among the top 13 states with increased cigarette and tobacco increases this year.

There are other factors that influence companies when they are shopping for a location, including education and housing costs, infrastructure and airport/ roads access. There are some things we cannot control such as location, but on all other fronts there are things we can do to improve our business climate and create jobs in almost any sector.

  • First and foremost lower taxes. Most small businesses file their taxes the same way we do. Small business represents 80 percent of all jobs and job creation. This would free up working capital for existing business to expand while at the same time encouraging others to take their shot at entrepreneurship.
  • Corporate taxes -reducing them initially and then working toward eliminating them. In 2007 our state took in approximately $850 million in corporate taxes, while spending $1.25 billion on corporate welfare (incentives (?!?). Had we done nothing we had saved taxpayers almost $400 million!
  • Eliminate corporate welfare which in my view isn’t fair. All business owners deserve tax breaks across the board, not the chosen few.

Following these steps will improve the business climate in Dare and throughout the district. If we are economically attractive to others, jobs will follow. They always do.

The homeowner’s insurance rates in Dare County have gone up exponentially while much of the rest of the state enjoys static premiums.  Most wind claims do not originate in coastal communities and many Dare County residents feel that they are paying more than their fair share in premiums.  What will you do to help distribute the premiums more equitably across the state?

I also live in a coastal county and share the burden of those exorbitant and unjust rates. I’ve viewed the claims data from across the state and there is no justifiable reason why homeowners here should be singled out and punished. The Insurance Commissioner needs to become an advocate for the homeowners, not the insurance lobbyist. With a change in leadership in the General Assembly, a change in mind set of the commissioner may soon follow. Enough is Enough!!

Do you support drilling for oil and/or natural gas off the coast of North Carolina?

I’m not certain about drilling for oil off the North Carolina Coast, although I have no problem with drilling for natural gas, depending on estimates of the gas reserves potentially available for harvest. Because Dare County is so dependent on tourism and recreational and commercial fishing, we must be concerned about an environmental disaster that could devastate commerce. That has to be weighed heavily against this state and nation’s energy needs. While I embrace efforts toward our energy independence, I also want to do everything I can to preserve and protect the God given assets we already have working for us.

Do you support a law that would exempt North Carolina from the new federal mandate that every person purchase health insurance?

I absolutely support a law that would exempt our state from the new federal mandate that every person purchase health insurance. I believe such a mandate is unconstitutional. I would push our state to join the other states who have already filed suit to determine this mandates constitutionality.

Do you support keeping North Carolina a Right to Work state?

Yes, I fully support keeping North Carolina a ‘Right to Work’ state.

A 2007 study by US Department of Education found that in North Carolina, 32% of freshmen do not graduate from high school.  Only 8 other states fared worse.  What educational reforms do you advocate in order to ensure that we have a skilled workforce?

A skilled workforce is essential to furthering the development and expansion of our state’s economy. Education is the key component. That is why I support lifting the cap on Charter Schools (currently set at 100), as well as expanding vocational educational opportunities throughout the state.
Not every student wants to go to college. Not every student should go to college. We need to do a  better job of assessing what our state’s needs are in terms of vocational skills that will be required both now and in the future. And then, we need to promote those opportunities to the students who show a keen interest and acumen toward them.

Do you support a requirement to present photo id in order to vote in North Carolina?

I wholeheartedly support a requirement to present a photo id in order to vote in North Carolina. If a voter does not have a photo id or can’t afford to have one done because of extreme economic hardship, it should be provided to them at no cost. I want everyone who is “legally” eligible to vote, to have that opportunity. This is not about denying votes, but enhancing the validation process.

There are about 350,000 illegal immigrants in our State, according to a 2008 study.  Illegal immigrants are doing jobs that can be done by our citizens.  They also utilize valuable government resources that are funded by taxpayers.   What do you propose should be done, if anything, about the illegal immigration problem in our state?

First we have to make this distinction. There are no illegal immigrants. By definition, immigration means coming into this country legally. Illegal aliens cross into this country illegally. The estimates of this population within our borders is actually closer to 450,000. Interestingly, that is approximately the number of unemployed we have in our state.

Tougher laws in other states have forced many from this group to find a haven here, where we all too often have looked the other way. Tougher laws, like those being imposed in Arizona should be adopted by the General Assembly. While I openly welcome those who come to this nation legally by green card or otherwise, I am opposed to illegal entry in any form or fashion. Illegal means illegal-period!

Recently the NC Sheriff’s Association said that they were going to ask the General Assembly for access to private prescription drug records.  Do you believe that local Sheriffs should have access to the DHHS Prescription Drug database?

I am opposed to the NC Sheriff’s Association efforts to gain access to private prescription drug records. This is an invasion of personal privacy. I am a supporter of the Association and have been, but I would not embrace this initiative.

Is there anything else you would like to share with the voters of State House District 2?

Thank you to ‘Truth or Dare’ for taking the time and effort to develop this questionnaire and for giving me the opportunity to respond. I hope my answers will be helpful to voters who are trying to find the candidate that will best represent them and their values in the North Carolina House of Representatives. Thank you for taking the time to read and consider my responses. May God bless each and every one of you and may God bless America and the great state of North Carolina.