CHARLOTTE – Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton said if North Carolinians want a world-class economy, they need to make the right choices.
"I think that we can have a great future if we make the right investments," he said Tuesday morning during a speech at the Charlotte Chamber.
The Democratic candidate for governor said some of those investments have to be in economic development incentives.
"If you don't have that incentive as a tool you're not going to be able to recruit or grow businesses within the state of North Carolina."
Dalton said Virginia's governor and legislature embraced $50 million in incentives to lure jobs there.
North Carolina needs something, he said, to remain competitive.
"We don't have to have the best incentive package in the nation but we have to have a competitive incentive package."
Josh Oakhurst, who works for a Charlotte software company, said social issues -- like the controversial marriage amendment voters backed this year -- are a distraction.
"We need to market the state as a progressive haven,” he said after Dalton's speech.
He said he asked the candidate to focus on the state's economy.
"The biggest thing that they could do to help our company of 35 software developers in Charlotte is to let everyone know that North Carolina is a great place to live and work," Oakhurst said.
“When we're facing the worst economy we've ever seen since the Great Depression, should we not be working on things to provide you that qualified workforce?" he asked.
Dalton never mentioned his Republican opponent, former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, by name. But he did draw distinctions between them.
"We view North Carolina differently,” Dalton said. “I do believe that undue cuts to education and economic development will hurt our future."
McCrory plans a similar speech to the Charlotte Chamber Aug. 27. News 14 Carolina plans to cover that speech as well.