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Candidates, Voters Speak Out on Taxes and Spending

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RALEIGH — With the November general election less than six weeks away, we want to know what the candidates for U.S. Senate and you think about the major issues. We've interviewed the candidates, and through our Your Voice, Your Vote poll, we talked with 1,000 North Carolinians.

In this report we focus on federal taxes and spending and begin with the question, "Is our tax system fair?"

"Do you think it's fair as it stands today?" asks WRAL's David Crabtree.

"No, I don't," voter Paulette Bowden says. "I think it would be wonderful for it to be changed."

The answer is typical of what we heard from 1,000 North Carolina voters.

In ourYour Voice Your Vote poll, 76 percent of respondents told us they are worried about the amount of taxes they have to pay.

The Senate nominees are listening, saying the tax code needs reforming.

"I'm somewhat about the tax code like I was when I accepted the role to straighten out the District of Columbia," says Faircloth. "There wasn't anything I could do to make it worse."

The incumbent and his democratic challenger are against a flat tax or a national sales tax.

"I would not favor a single rate flat tax because I think it's regressive," Edwards says. "So I would not be in favor of that. I would not be in favor of a national sales tax for exactly the same reason."

Libertarian Barbara Howe sees things differently.

"Both of those plans, the planned flat tax and sales tax, are effective measures in the right direction," Howe says. "For one thing, they eliminate theIRS, and I think they should abolish the IRS immediately."

The poll shows 65 percent are not very confident about the future of Social Security. And 69 percent don't want their benefits invested in a volatile stock market.

"I don't want my savings or my Social Security, the things that I'm going to depend on in my old age, to be gone, disappear in just one day," voter Kathy Mills said.

Sixty nine percent want the minimum wage increased. Edwards says yes, Faircloth and Howe say no.

And what about future taxes? Howe and Edwards say they can't imagine any reason for raising taxes. And Faircloth?

"Under no condition, at any time, for any reason," says the senator.

Sunday'sNews and Observerwill have more Your Voice, Your Vote poll results and an in-depth look at our Social Security system.