by: Linzi Sheldon Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Both candidates for North Carolina governor faced the same crowd on Tuesday, talking about each of their plans to create jobs and improve the economy.
Gov. Walter Dalton and former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory spoke at the North Carolina Technology Association's annual conference.
"Right now, North Carolina has the fifth-highest unemployment rate in the country," McCrory told the audience. "Our unemployment rate is far too high."
McCrory brought up jobs and unemployment within his first six minutes on stage.
"I'm looking to reform the tax system to create new jobs," he said.
McCrory said cutting taxes and reducing regulations on businesses will encourage them to stay in North Carolina, expand and create jobs.
Dalton said he has another plan.
"It is a plan that will put people back to work now, but also build jobs for the future," he said.
Dalton said he would offer tax incentives for businesses that hire people who have been unemployed for more than six months and also offer tax incentives if they hire unemployed people
part time for eight weeks.
He said the state would still provide partial benefits.
"It will allow the employer to test that employee out and it will give that employee some job skills," he said.
"So that's a way to get people immediately, I think, back to work."
Dalton also supports new retraining programs at colleges and universities that he would fund instead of giving tax breaks to
higher-income businesses and individuals.
But McCrory said he wants to improve programs already in place.
"We're funding retraining programs now in the tens of millions of dollars," he said.
"The question is, are they the right retraining programs?"
The candidates also differ on energy. McCrory said pursuing natural gas exploration inland and offshore would create jobs.
Dalton said those jobs would take years to create, even if the industry gained momentum.