It is election time again! as we do annually, encore asked the candidates to answer questions related to their support for our local economy. We are in effect hiring people to manage our money and plan our future. Thus, if we do not ask them to think about and invest in our local economy, we cannot expect them to do it.
This week encore asked Tom Radewicz, candidate for mayor of Castle Hayne, to answer questions about his “Buy Local” consciousness and re-election campaign.
encore (e): Are you familiar with either the Buy Local ILM movement or the national one, and do you feel the the movement is important to our region?
Tom Radewicz: No, I was not aware that an official organization promoting “Buy Local” existed, but customers/consumers and businesses supporting each other means local jobs, and that makes good sense to me.
e: How does your platform support small business, entrepreneurs and Buy Local?
TR: I do not have a ‘Buy Local’ plank in my platform, but buying local has always been my preference. I see small business owners as valuable, respected assets and will rely on them for their forecasts and indicators that will help maintain our town’s sound economic health.
e: Do you feel that it is important for our government and educational institutions (i.e. UNCW, the community colleges and the school system) to source goods from our local or regional area? And do you support policy to reinforce it?
TR: Using local providers for source goods and services is, I believe, important to our economy. It should worry us all if the majority of our purchases were through catalogs or online.
e: Do you frequent farmers’ markets, and what are your thoughts on the place of agriculture within our local economy?
TR: Very seldom do I make a special trip to a farmers’ market. I do buy from roadside vendors whenever I feel the need or desire. I usually buy from a local source for the quality and freshness of the produce.
When you start thinking about the economic effects of some local agriculture commerce then farmers’ markets take on another meanings.The fact that Castle Hayne has the only rural agriculture zoning in the county should motivate or at least stimulate a serious thought.
e: What percentage of your consumer spending do you dedicate toward locally owned businesses (farms and foods included)? Chain stores and restaurants? Shopping on the Internet?
TR: I don’t budget my spending using classifications like the “Buy Local” or “Buy Non-local.” I look for the best deals. We cannot downplay the Internet’s value to the consumer.
e: What is your position on film incentives?
TR: I have trouble with providing incentives to select industries, but I myself take advantage of every incentive I can get my hands on.
e: What is your position on incentives to attract new businesses to our area, and do you support any sort of tax breaks or rewards for existing small businesses that provide jobs and pay into the tax base?
TR: Let’s use Carver Boat Co. and then a little later Del Labs as an example. Those companies were lured here by offering incentives and now they are gone. However, just look at the jobs they created locally. Thousands of people worked there part-time, full-time and overtime. Millions and millions and more millions of dollars were generated to pay wages, pay for services and materials. Did the incentives pay off? Was it good while it lasted? I think so.
In the future, I will support reasonable tax breaks for businesses who create jobs.
e: What are your thoughts regarding the collection and remittance of sales tax by large online retailers back to states—eventually, to municipalities like ours? Should they be forced to comply with sales tax collection?
TR: I like paying no taxes when I buy through the Internet or the mailbox. I also understand that this practice sometimes creates an unfair advantage for the out-of-town businesses. Our proposed town could use the additional revenue and the process will create some jobs, somewhere. If all the economic experts say it would be beneficial and a blessing to the masses, then we may be required to begin the collections.