by Michael Lowrey
It’s always fun watching politicians completely tie themselves up in rhetorical knots. At it currently is Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, with his latest latest statement on education and taxes. The Raleigh News & Observer provides the coverage:
Democrat Walter Dalton said his first budget proposal if elected will not include a sales tax increase to better fund education, an apparent shift on a key issue in the governor’s race.
But at the same time, Dalton refuses to rule out a sales tax increase if elected.
“What I have always said is (that) I don’t like the cuts to education; it wasn’t about embracing the tax,” Dalton said in an interview Thursday. “But it was a way to resolve it, and I supported the extension of three-quarters-of-a-penny sales tax to get us through the tough times.”
Dalton advocated for a tax increase earlier this year as he campaigned for the Democratic primary nomination.
First proposed by Gov. Bev Perdue and legislative Democrats, the sales tax increase would have provided an extra $850 million a year to public education amid spending cuts in the Republican-crafted state budget. Dalton saw it as an “extension” of the 1-cent sales tax levy that expired last year.
The tax increase Perdue advocated never included a sunset date. “In my mind, it was always clear” it would be a one-year tax, Dalton said.
Even though Dalton still believes his reasons for the tax increase – tough economic times and low education funding – still exist, he said his forthcoming education plan won’t require an increase in the sales tax.