Peterson supports Durham tax freeze, maintains marriage stance

Peterson supports Durham tax freeze, maintains marriage stance

By Harlan Brown
Oct. 31, 2011

DURHAM, NC — City Council candidate Victoria Peterson said today that she supports freezing the local sales tax rate rather than increasing it. Proposed sales tax increases totaling three-quarters of a percent are on the Nov. 8 general election ballot.

The current sales tax in Durham County is 6.75 percent. Of that percent, 4.75% is state tax and 2.00 percent is county tax. Each of the adjacent counties also has a sales tax of 6.75%. If the proposed quarter-percent tax for education and half-percent tax for public transit are approved, Durham County would have a 7.50% sales tax, the highest in North Carolina. Currently, Mecklenburg County is highest at 7.25%.

Tax freeze

Peterson said, "Although I previously conditionally supported the proposed half-percent and quarter-percent sales tax increases, having talked with citizens in Durham and more thoroughly considered the proposals, I do not support these or any other tax increases. Taxes are already too high, and the government needs to learn to live within its means."

"A tax increase would be burdensome to the residents of Durham," Peterson said. "This is not a good time to increase taxes, especially for people who are unemployed or underemployed or on a fixed income. I think it would be devastating for our senior citizens who are already struggling."

Peterson is the only City Council candidate who supports a freeze on taxes. The only other candidate on the ballot who supports a tax freeze is mayoral candidate Sylvester Williams.

The only items that are exempted from the sales and use tax are as follows:

  • Food
  • Prescription drugs
  • Utilities
  • Housing
  • Motor vehicles
  • Gasoline
Pro-family and pro-life

Peterson and Williams are the only candidates on the Durham ballot who support the marriage amendment that was passed by the state legislature and goes to the voters next May. The amendment reads as follows:

Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts.

In July of this year, all seven city council members (including the mayor) voted unanimously to condemn the marriage amendment.

Peterson and Williams are also the only candidates on the Durham ballot who are fully pro-life. Peterson said, "Although the city council may not be able to stop the county commissioners from giving taxpayers' dollars to Planned Parenthood, I will be a voice for those precious babies who are being sent to their death."

Peterson has signed a pledge that includes commitment to protecting "the God-given, unalienable rights to life, liberty, and private property of every person, from creation to natural death" and the "God-given institution of one man-one woman marriage and the natural family." The pledge is at her website at

Candidate summary table

The following table summarizes candidate information:

Candidate When right to life begins Marriage amendment Tax increase Website and email Phone (919)
Mayor (Vote for one)
William V. (Bill) Bell At birth Against For; 544-5597
Sylvester Williams Conception (fertilization) For Against; 596-2682
City Council (Vote for up to three)
Eugene A. Brown See footnote1 Against For; 688-9314
Solomon Burnette See footnote2 Abstain3 For; 638-6923
Diane Catotti "I am pro-choice" Against For; 490-0984
Donald Hughes At birth Against For; 410-7721
Victoria Peterson Conception (fertilization) For Against; 949-3867
Steve Schewel "I am pro-choice" Against For; 286-0116
  1. Eugene Brown: The right-to-life issue "has nothing to do with city council. That's above our pay grade! ($18,000)."
  2. Burnette: "Life is precious. Everyone's choice takes consideration."
  3. Burnette: "My upbringing, faith, and ideology place me squarely within the exclusive endorsement of heterosexual union. We must also make sure that no one's civil liberties are infringed upon. If asked to vote on this position, I would probably abstain so as not to offend many friends."

Early voting has started. It continues through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and ends on Saturday, Nov. 5, at 1 p.m. The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 8, from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Early voting (One Stop No Excuse Absentee Voting) is being held at the following locations:

  • Board of Elections Office at 706 W. Corporation St. Durham, NC 27701
  • North Regional Library at 221 Milton Rd. Durham, NC 27712
  • South Regional Library at 4505 S. Alston Ave. Durham, NC 27713

For an editorial related to this news item, see Two pro-family, pro-life candidates in Durham council and mayoral races.

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