Lieutenant Governor Walter Dalton joined Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, Durham Mayor Bill Bell, Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy, and Concord Mayor Scott Padgett today in publicly supporting smart growth planning in North Carolina's cities. One day after the Raleigh News & Observer published a story on Pat McCrory's support for a resolution pushed by the Tea Party movement denouncing smart growth efforts, Dalton and the mayors pointed to the importance of comprehensive planning in the face of huge growth in North Carolina's cities.
Specifically, the leaders observed the necessity of smart-growth strategies in North Carolina, including cities like Asheville, Durham, Concord and Charlotte over the last 20 years, and the fact that Pat McCrory formerly embraced these common-sense policies as Mayor. Unfortunately, since running for Governor, Pat McCrory has joined conspiracy theorists and fringe elements of his party in denouncing growth planning and advocating policies that will hurt North Carolina's future.
"North Carolina is one of the fastest growing states in the nation and maintaining our status as the best place in the country to live, work, and raise a family requires comprehensive planning," said Lt. Governor Dalton. "As former mayor of Charlotte, no one should understand this more clearly than Pat McCrory. Unfortunately, through his disavowal of smart growth Candidate McCrory has embraced extreme ideological positions and abandoned common sense approaches that lead to responsible growth and economic development."
"If there were ever a Republican considered 'progressive' on smart growth, it was Pat McCrory as Mayor of Charlotte," said Charlotte Mayor Foxx. "He pushed for higher taxes to support transit and policies that encouraged dense, urban development. If he's pulling away his support of progressive growth policies, it's against the grain of what Charlotte has been doing, even under his tenure as Mayor. Frankly, I'm disappointed that the guy who used to brag about standing up to his own party now seems to be pandering."
"It's clear that Durham and the Research Triangle are benefiting from our comprehensive smart growth plans," said DurhamMayor Bell. "I know Pat McCrory, and it is really surprising to me that he may want to run away from responsible smart growth policies. I'm glad Walter Dalton believes in balancing our current needs with demands for the future."
"I'm proud that Asheville's population has grown by 20 percent in the past ten years, but I'm disappointed that Pat McCrory wants to destroy the policies that have fueled our growth," said Asheville Mayor Bellamy. "Luckily, Walter Dalton wants our cities to continue the smart growth that attracts businesses and residents."
"Smart growth simply means planning for the future to preserve our resources," said Concord Mayor Padgett. "When business prospects consider a location, they appreciate knowing that we have planned for the future. That is a good economic development tool."
McCrory Was the "Most Vocal Supporter" of a Sales Tax Increase for Transportation in Mecklenburg County. In 1998, McCrory supported a half-cent sales tax to expand Charlotte's mass transit system. McCrory was cited as the "most vocal supporter" of the rapid transit referendum.
McCrory Said He "Put a Lot of Sweat Equity" to Get the Ability to Increase Sales Taxes. "In few efforts did McCrory invest more time or miles than in persuading the state legislature to allow Charlotteans to vote on raising the sales tax by a half-cent. The money would help pay for transit. "I put a lot of sweat equity in getting support,' says McCrory, adding that a higher sales tax - paid for in part by nonresidents - would keep property taxes down."
In 2007, McCrory Opposed Repealing the Transit Tax in Mecklenburg County. The Charlotte Observer reported that McCrory "opposes repeal" of the transit tax, saying, "If that is repealed, you're transferring the entire burden to the property taxpayer of Charlotte." The Charlotte Observer also noted that repealing the tax would "reduce the county's sales tax rate from 7.25 cents to 6.75 cents per dollar."