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Avery Commissioner Candidiate Statement: PW Glidewell


March 24, 2014. Mr. Glidewell graduated from ASU, is married to the former Vanessa Wiseman, and together they are raising four children in Avery County.   He is an attorney that has been representing clients in Avery County Court for a decade, and Vanessa is a Registered Nurse working at High Country Home Care in Newland.  Mr. Glidewell is a conservative Republican who has regularly contributed to Republican candidates for many years. 

Glidewell stated: 

“Vanessa and I share a very deep and humble love of Avery County, feel compelled to run for this office, and would ask that you consider casting one of your three votes for our candidacy.

1.  There is a coming crisis in the Christmas Tree and Vineyard  Industry that we desperately need to aggressively address.   Starting in July of 2014 the amount of transactions subject to the sales tax has greatly expanded.   The new farming exemption to avoid  paying 6.75% on ALL the goods and services used in our farming industry is only applicable to farms earning $10,000 or more IN THE PRECEDING YEAR.   There are many family farms in our County that only gross that amount once every seven years, or have intermittent years where they don’t gross $10,000.  They should not pay a sales tax on every seed, every chainsaw, every kilowatt of electricity, etc used for their family farm during the years it takes to bring their product to market.  Our farms should not be taxed differently simply because our crops are not harvested annually. This vital  industry is already struggling, and to add this new and unfair tax burden simply because our crops are not harvested annually is dead wrong.  I would work in good faith with our excellent representation in Raleigh, other counties, through the state association of commissioners, etc. to tirelessly advocate for an exemption for all Christmas Trees and Vineyards from the sales tax for farming operations.

In the 2013 Farm Bill, the Federal Government will tax each live Christmas Tree sold 15 cents, to be used for marketing.   This was done largely with the support of the industry, but I would aggressively work to make sure this money is spent productively, and transparently. If growers in Avery County feel this money is not being spent wisely, I will raise the rooftops until the problem is solved.  

Every Christmas present, every high school textbook, and every dime of college tuition that paid for my wife Vanessa to obtain a nursing degree and move back to Avery County, make a living,  and give me the honor and privilege of ever meeting  her, was paid for by the Christmas Tree Industry.    I will fight to protect it.

2.  The business incubator was a good idea in theory, and this concept has worked very well to create new economic activity in other counties.   I know our county leaders did this with the best of intentions.  To the jaw dropping amazement of everyone who has looked at the issue, the execution of this good idea has been incredibly flawed and in fact counter productive.  Our first loyalty must be to existing private sector business, such as realtors, and they have actually put them in peril by subsidizing competing firms.   We are already so far down the road with this project, that I would do the following:  A.  I would put the burden of proof on any prospective tenant to prove that they are not competing with ANY existing industry, but in fact creating a NEW job in a brand NEW industry.  We need to incubate the type of industry that we all have to travel to Boone or Spruce Pine to pay for now, not the industry that is already here.   B.  I would put flexible performance based guidelines in the leases to ensure that they are in fact creating new jobs pursuant to their business plan, and that they continue to need any further subsidy and are ready to compete in the private sector to make a living like our family has done our whole lives. C. I would set objective criteria in place each year to analyze whether the incubator is working, and if its not I would kill the project and sell the Banner Elk school to the private sector, and use the proceeds to service the debt on the new school.    Basically, if I can convince the board to drastically change how the incubator concept is being implemented, set objective criteria for its performance to be reviewed annually,  I’m willing to give it another year to work.  If its not creating NEW jobs each year,  I will vote to kill the project.

3.  I respect, and in fact greatly admire, all of the candidates for sheriff. We have great law enforcement in our county, they do the work of saints.  No matter who wins the election, we will continue to have great law enforcement in our County.  I will work in a good faith partnership with the Sheriff to make sure he has everything he needs to do his job , no matter the outcome of the election.

4.  75 percent of our revenue comes from property taxes, and the aggregate value of all our land in Avery County has decreased by a billion dollars, according the latest revaluation.   We simply can’t afford to fund some of the worthwhile projects we used to.  I will review the entire budget, and I know that good people whom I respect and admire will ask me not to cut certain projects, but I will vote to cut the budget anywhere I can and live within our means.  Money is always spent wiser by the people who actually earn it, and the first dollars out of county government must be spent to continue to provide an excellent K through 12 public education for our children, even before another dollar is spent.

5.  As you know, the fundamental genius of our founding fathers was premised on the idea that before we delegated any powers to the government to regulate or tax us, we retained certain rights.  One of those was the right to bear arms.  For an Avery County citizen to purchase and bear arms it costs over $100.00.  To me this is akin to paying a tax to speak freely or worship in the church of your choice.   I have many good friends who work hard all day long and don’t net $100.00.   No American should have to donate a day of hard work to simply engage in a freedom they never relinquished in the first place.  If someone otherwise qualifies under our law, I would work to abolish that tax on our freedoms in our county.”