A taxing issue for the Democrats

March 4, 2013 

Have mercy. North Carolina Democrats just this month elected Pittsboro Mayor Randy Voller as chairman of the state party after another leading contender pulled out. Former 2nd District U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge also allowed his name to be put in nomination but did not campaign for the job.

Will the Democrats have to go back to a well that’s already pretty dry? Certainly it’s a possibility following an Associated Press report that Voller owes $286,000 in back taxes and penalties. Voller and his wife are facing a lien with the state with a balance of $98,000, which he says is actually lower and is being paid. He’s also looking at a lien with the IRS for roughly $187,000.

Voller says his troubles are directly related to the national economic downturn. He was in the real estate business with his father, who has died, and they were simply caught in the Great Recession. In the real estate business, it’s easy to see how a big tax bill could mount quickly if, as Voller says, people who owed him money couldn’t or wouldn’t pay.

But that’s not much of a political stump speech. The Democratic Party is in trouble in North Carolina, and Republicans understandably will make more trouble with this issue. This is a shame, not because one party is better than another, but because the public deserves two strong parties competing in a marketplace of ideas for votes.

If the Democrats can’t get their act together, they don’t deserve the support of the people, which is something that must be earned.

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