RALEIGH, N.C. — In recent polls, voters said jobs and the economy were the two most important issues facing North Carolina.
Both candidates for North Carolina governor are promising to create jobs and stimulate the economy. The polls show that is what voters need to hear.
"Skill up and cost down. We try to get our workers skills up, the work force with more knowledge, talent and skill, and the business cost down," said Gov. Mike Easley.
Easley says the state already has programs in place to lure top-notch companies.
"We have been able to get a one North Carolina fund, which we use to recruit industry, and a job development investment grant, which is very flexible and no other states really have anything as flexible as we do."
"What we're trying to concentrate on is those companies that require knowledge and skill, because we know they have to stay here."
Ballantine says the key to stimulating the economy is lowering taxes.
"We have to lower our taxes to compete, " he said. "We have the highest income tax in the south. We have the highest business tax in the south. We have a regulatory climate that is adversarial with businesses."
The Republican candidate blames Easley for the high taxes he says is keeping business away from North Carolina.
"Lowering taxes on businesses and working families will stimulate the economy," Ballantine said, "John Kennedy knew that, Ronald Reagan knew that, I know that. This governor doesn't know that."
There is some good news on the job front, nationally. The Labor Department says the number of new jobless claims dropped by about 10 percent last week.
The bigger test for employment come Friday, when the Labor Department issues its monthly jobs creation report.