By John Szoka
Leadership is a combination of experience, knowledge, ability and ongoing commitment that enables a person to make a significant difference for a group of people. A strong, effective political leader acts on principles, not politics.
I served for over 20 years in one of the largest known bureaucracies – the United States Army. In leadership positions, I always accomplished the mission and saved money while doing so. At one major headquarters, I devised and implemented innovative changes, saving $6 million annually of taxpayer money.
Outside the military, I’ve owned several small businesses. I know what it takes to meet payroll and create jobs. I’ve personally knocked on over 1,000 doors throughout N.C. District 45 the past several months and discussed the issues with many of you. Experience, knowledge of the complex issues, dedication to improving our lives now, and concern for the future for our children and grandchildren, lead me to make the following policy recommendations that I believe will help our State.
We should cap the state gasoline tax and stop raiding the Highway Trust Fund. Escalating fuel costs strain every family’s and businesses’ budget to the limits. Money spent on fuel means higher food costs as well as fewer new jobs. In the past six years, over $750 million of the Highway Trust Fund was used to balance the budget. Had that money been used for roads, Fayetteville’s outer loop could have been completed by now.
The “job” of government is to create an environment where individuals and businesses can be successful. To accomplish this, we need to reduce excessive regulations on farmers and businesses, reduce corporate tax rates and stop corporate welfare, which will level the playing field for all businesses, large and small.
Over-regulation of businesses drives up the cost of doing business and makes North Carolina less attractive to new businesses. The current legislature took an important first step last year in passing a law saying state regulations can be no more restrictive than federal regulations. While being a good first step, we now need to eliminate numerous regulations still on the books which add unnecessary costs and little value.
A 2008 study conducted by UNC, Chapel Hill, costing taxpayers over $600,000, concluded that lowering the corporate tax rate “is preferred by both incented and non-incented companies as an alternative to selected tax credits.” States that reduced corporate taxes cite that as significant in attracting new businesses; yet North Carolina still relies on corporate welfare (bribing large companies to locate here with huge tax credits/subsidies).
We must stop corporate welfare. From 2007 to 2008, North Carolina extended about $1 billion in tax breaks and subsidies with little to show for it. We can’t afford companies moving here for subsidies and tax breaks and then leaving within a few years, creating job losses. Low corporate tax rates attract new business and help existing businesses remain competitive and profitable.
As bureaucracy grows, our freedoms disappear. The growth of government must be stopped and replaced with a smaller, smarter, less intrusive government. The current legislature began consolidating state agencies and departments; however, that work is incomplete. Agencies and programs not supporting government’s core functions should be eliminated.
A world-class education is essential to our children’s future. Reward teachers based on performance and results. Reduce excessive administrative overhead, and push those resources into the classroom. Primary education teachers tell me they spend $200 to $400 of their personal money preparing classrooms for the beginning of a new school year. This must end.
Families make difficult choices every day while struggling to pay bills in these tough economic times. North Carolina legislators must also tighten the government’s budget belt. I believe that I have the experience, knowledge of the issues, ability and demonstrated ongoing commitment to do the best job for District 45. I ask for your vote to hire me as your representative for N.C. House District 45.