Dems push for public pressure on GOP for jobs plan
Posted November 7, 2011
Raleigh, N.C. — Dozens of Democratic lawmakers on Monday called for North Carolina residents to speak up and push Republican legislators toward a plan that the Democrats say will create thousands of jobs statewide.
The plan calls for increasing the state sales tax rate by 0.7 cent, eliminating tax loopholes and creating incentives for small businesses to hire workers.
"This is an absolutely awful economy," said Rep. Bill Faison, D-Orange, who is leading the push for the plan. "What we need, I think, is public pressure to address the issue."
Republican legislative leaders have remained adamant that they will not raise taxes during a sluggish economy. The GOP cut state spending in the 2011-12 budget rather than extend a temporary one-cent increase to the sales tax rate, which expired in June.
They have maintained that the state's economic woes were not created overnight, and that cuts are the best way to put North Carolina back on track.
Faison and fellow Democrats remain undeterred. Restoring part of the penny to the sales tax would create about 34,000 jobs, they said, while changes to North Carolina's tax policy could put another 200,000 people back to work.
He said he has called on Republicans three times in the last two months to hold a special legislative session on measures to boost North Carolina's economy and is frustrated by the lack of movement on the idea.
"Look, seven-tenths of a cent is really nothing, and it does a great amount of good," Faison said. "Stop holding it up. Move it forward, (and) then what we'll get is bipartisan support."
The Democrats invited two business owners to their news conference to support the jobs plan, but at least one came away unconvinced that the suggestions lawmakers are putting forward would work.
"A tax credit here and a tax credit there, that's not going to solve the problem," said Jimmy Shepard, chief executive of TranscoWash Systems, a small manufacturing company in Farmville. "They're putting Band-Aids on gunshot wounds."
Shepard said business owners like him are tired of the bickering, constant rhetoric and partisanship in the General Assembly.
"I haven't heard anything that will truly help small businesses here in North Carolina ... from either party," he said.