Local News

Easley, Ballantine Take Each Other To Task Over Taxes

Posted October 5, 2004 5:04 a.m. EDT

— Gubernatorial candidates Democrat Mike Easley and Republican Patrick Ballantine are accusing each other of lying about taxes.

For Easley, a campaign pledge from 4 years ago has become an issue in his bid for re-election.

"I would not favor any tax," Easley said four years ago.

"He promised four years ago that he would not raise taxes, but he did. He raised taxes on the back of working people," Ballantine said.

Ballantine's campaign ad on television lists a slew of so-called tax increases on Easley's watch. The Easley campaign takes issue with many of them, including the income tax hike on families making more than $200,000 a year.

Easley also points out the ad fails to mention that the marriage penalty has been eliminated and that a child tax credit has been added, leading to lower taxes for some families.

"A million families in North Carolina -- those making $35,000 or below -- not a million people, but a million families -- are paying less taxes now than they were in 2001 when I took over," Easley said.

As for the temporary sales tax increase, Easley claims he only agreed to it because state legislators, including Ballantine, would not approve a lottery to help fund education.

Easley said it is Ballantine who would raise taxes if elected governor. Ballantine claims that is false and promises to veto any tax increases.

Easley also claims tax increases were needed because the legislature increased spending so much. Ballantine said he opposed the extra spending and voted against each year's budget.