CHARLOTTE -- Fresh off their primary victories, Walter Dalton and Pat McCrory set their sights on each other as the battle for governor is officially underway. While McCrory was in Greensboro talking jobs and his plan to reform the state's tax code, Dalton kicked off his general election campaign with a stop in Charlotte.
"As we turn the corner on this national recession, we need to refocus our efforts on 21st century jobs," said Dalton.
Speaking at Central Piedmont Community College, Dalton called for a series of eight debates over the next four months focused on education and jobs.
"It's an opportunity to discuss the issues, discuss our future and whether cutting education and limiting the scope of community college makes sense," said Dalton.
McCrory said he'll debate, but didn't agree on number, date or time of debates.
"We welcome a series of debates which is a departure from the Perdue-Dalton philosophy of the last election where they avoided as many debates as possible," said McCrory.
Catawba College Political Science professor Dr. Michael Bitzer said the call for debate is not unusual. The number, however, is.
"Most presidential campaigns only debate three times. Eight is a very high number," said Dr. Bitzer.
He says McCrory is currently the front-runner in this race primarily due to his fundraising advantage at this point. Bitzer added all eyes will be on North Carolina come November.
"This is going to be one of the tightest and most closely watched gubernatorial races in the country," he said.
News 14: Gubernatorial campaigns kick off with challenge to debate
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GREENSBORO – Pat McCrory says North Carolina has one of the highest corporate and income tax rates in the Southeast.
“My goal as governor will be to completely reform our tax system so we are not dependent on the income tax or the corporate tax,” said the Republican candidate for governor.
McCrory's comments came after a tour of Mother Murphy's Incorporated, a Greensboro company that does an international business in flavoring for food and drinks. He pointed to a 65-year old family-owned business -- that's continued to research and grow -- and an example of the kid of businesses the state should cultivate.
"If we continue to be a state which only buys things, as opposed to make, innovate and produce things, our long-term sustainable economy is in trouble," said McCrory.
McCrory also wants to give breaks to companies that maintain a presence in North Carolina and produce a product.
“We reward those industries that make things, produce things, that innovate things,” said McCrory. “Right now our tax policy punishes those who produce things."
The former Charlotte mayor says that's a function of the current tax structure and the state using up-front cash incentives to attract news business to North Carolina.
"That's a slap in the face to existing businesses who have made an investment already in North Carolina," he added.
McCrory also says incentives don't work.
"The fact of the matter right now, North Carolina is having difficulty not only retaining new businesses but also recruiting new businesses,” he said.
McCrory also says he wants to do something about the over regulation of industry, saying that it's one of the biggest issues for many companies across the state.
Letter from Walton's to McCrory's campaign about debates
May 14, 2012
Pat McCrory for Governor
811 Spring Forest Road, Suite 100
Raleigh, NC 27609
Lieutenant Governor Dalton is delighted that Mayor McCrory has agreed to join him for series of eight debates to be held at community colleges in every region of the state, starting in June. North Carolina is at a crossroads and the people deserve a straightforward discussion on the future of our state.
Our incredible system of community colleges represent the intersection between innovative education and the jobs of the future, so where better to debate our competing visions? Under the Lieutenant Governor’s proposal, the two candidates will hold two debates each month at community colleges across North Carolina, including:
June: Durham Technical Community College and Pitt Community College
July: Guilford Technical Community College and Fayetteville Technical Community College
August: Cape Fear Community College (Wilmington) and Asheville-Buncombe Community College
September: Central Piedmont Community College (Charlotte) and College of the Albemarle (Elizabeth City)
As Mayor McCrory agreed to our suggested locations, the Lieutenant Governor is happy to work around your campaign’s preferred dates. Please send me your proposed dates by the end of the week and we will work with you to secure sponsorships. Thanks for your prompt acceptance and I look forward to hearing from you.
Dalton for Governor