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October 13, 2002

Republicans vow change if they take over Legislature

From: Jacksonville Daily News, NC
Oct. 13, 2002


RALEIGH — Republicans promised changes in the way state government does its business if they take control of the General Assembly following the Nov. 5 election.

Candidates for both the state House and Senate exuded confidence that voters would put them in charge during a kickoff of what party leaders called the “Victory 2002 Campaign” at GOP state headquarters in Raleigh Thursday.

“You can feel the surge; you can feel change coming,” said Tommy Pollard of Jacksonville, the GOP candidate for the 6th Senatorial District seat against Cecil Hargett of Richlands.

House Minority Leader Leo Daughtry, R-Johnston, predicted that Republicans would win 65 or 66 seats in the 120-member House and 26 or 27 seats in the 50-member Senate.

Daughtry released a position paper saying that Republicans are committed to restoring financial integrity to the state and would fund essential state services if voters give the GOP a legislative majority.

The Republicans said they would restore the state’s financial integrity by:

n Reforming budgeting and stopping wasteful spending. They pledge to limit increases in government spending to the rate of inflation plus the rate of population growth and by using zero-based budgeting, which would require every program to justify its continued existence.

n Promoting economic growth. “Only if our taxes are no higher than adjoining states can we expect to attract the new jobs that will jumpstart our economy,” the GOP pledge reads.

n Protecting local government revenue. The pledge chides the Democratic leadership for “confiscating money collected for local governments.”

Republicans also pledged to fund essential state services by:

n Delivering quality education. Tax dollars would be focused on the classroom rather on “a vast and unproductive bureaucracy.”

n Protect senior citizens. The pledge is critical of the Democratic leadership for raiding Medicaid trust funds and repealing long term care tax credits.

n Providing for “our most vulnerable citizens.” The Republicans blame the Democrats for threatening to close mental hospitals, reducing services to the blind and deaf and freezing community alternative programs.

“When you control the House, the Senate and the governor’s mansion, you can’t point the finger at the other party,” said GOP House candidate Stephen LaRoque of Kinston, who is challenging incumbent Democratic Rep. Russell Tucker of Pink Hill for the 10th District seat.

Chuck Tyson, a Republican Craven County commissioner who is seeking to unseat Sen. Scott Thomas, D-Craven for the 2nd District seat, said getting the state’s finances in order is a good message to send to voters.“You might be well-intentioned, but when you’re broke, you can’t do a whole lot,” Tyson said.

Pollard said that the General Assembly is out of control and that higher taxes hurt local economies. And the effect can be felt in a military town, he said.

“It drives military folks to the commissaries even more than they did because they don’t have to pay sales tax,” he said.

© 2001 Jacksonville Daily News.