UPDATED: Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton released his tax returns Friday, following the lead of his main Democratic opponent and continuing the pressure on Republican Pat McCrory to do the same.
Dalton's records show he made $104,951 in 2011, about $20,000 less than the previous year. The decrease represents Dalton entering more money into the state's 401k plan, his campaign said.
The campaign initially attributed the decrease to a voluntary pay cut, per a request from the governor, but corrected the statement Saturday.
Dalton released two years of tax forms, just as former Democratic Congressman Bob Etheridge did Feb. 29 when he filed to run for office. The tax returns became an issue after the state Democratic Party began urging McCrory to release his taxes as a matter of transparency. McCrory and Democratic state Rep. Bill Faison have refused to do so citing privacy concerns.
A candidate for public office is not required to release tax returns and only must file a financial disclosure form. But Dalton said candidates should allow greater scrutiny. "I firmly believe that candidates seeking public office should be held to a higher standard of transparency than basic law requires," Dalton said in a statement. "If you want to serve as governor, the people of North Carolina need to be able to trust you. You ought to be able to show them how you have made your money. I challenge Bill Faison, Pat McCrory and the rest of my opponents to join me in releasing their tax returns."