Legislative leaders announce economic development, job recruitment budget provisions
Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore announced the forthcoming state budget will include key changes to economic development programs that are expected to help secure a major jobs announcement in North Carolina in the coming months.
The legislation will modify the state’s existing economic development and jobs recruitment program based on feedback obtained during prior efforts to recruit large private sector employers as well as recent conversations between lawmakers and prospective companies across many sectors of the economy looking to move to North Carolina.
Among other changes, it will:
- Enable a company that commits to investing at least $1 billion and creating at least 3,000 new jobs in North Carolina to be eligible for a transformative project award under the state’s Job Development Investment Grants (JDIG) program. These thresholds are based on research conducted by the General Assembly’s economic team regarding the level at which a major corporate relocation will have an immediate positive impact on state revenues.
- Allow transformative projects to receive credit for “expansion positions” above the 3,000 job minimum that are created during the term of a JDIG agreement. This will encourage companies to grow in North Carolina beyond an initial jobs commitment.
- Lengthen the base period for transformative projects to 10 years and also extend the maximum JDIG term for transformative projects to the base period plus an additional 30 years. This will provide more long-term certainty to companies considering North Carolina.
- Eliminate the $6,500 cap per job for JDIG awards for transformative projects. This will help attract higher-paying jobs.
- Modify the award that is available to high-yield and transformative projects so that 10 percent of that benefit is directed to the state Utility Account – the fund designed to support economic development projects in rural North Carolina. Previously, the company received 100 percent of the award. This will help make certain that the positive impact of major job recruitments is felt by the entire state.
This change will give companies certainty as they make their relocation decisions in the coming months.
Since 2011, legislative Republicans have undertaken major pro-growth reforms to fix North Carolina’s business climate and spur economic growth. Based on our direct conversations with companies, we know those reforms have made us more competitive than ever before – and we believe this change to our business incentives is the final piece of the puzzle that is needed to put us over the top when it comes to recruiting thousands of new jobs and billions in new investment to our state.
The pro-growth reforms include an overhaul of the state’s regulatory environment and tax reforms such as reducing the corporate income tax rate to 2.5 percent in 2019, adopting single sales factor apportionment, reducing the personal income tax rate from a high of 7.75 percent in 2013 to 5.25 percent in 2019, and increasing the amount of tax free income that North Carolinians can claim. Those changes resulted in North Carolina climbing from 44th worst to 11th best tax climate in the nation, according to the Tax Foundation.
Wednesday was the Legislature’s first day back for the short session.
I met with several teachers and education advocates. Most were professional and courteous. The few who were not ruined the day for the rest. Shouting and disruption in the halls and in the gallery only took away from the otherwise productive debate of critical issues.
Many teachers were surprised to see the progress we’ve made in the past few years. Sometimes it is good to stop and take a critical look at the progress GOP leadership has produced. I welcome anyone who is interested in viewing where you were under Democrat control and where you are now.
I admire teachers who can move children ahead in growth. We’re now paying large bonuses to these teachers. They deserve every penny of it.
Keep up the good work. Here are a few education funding quick facts:
- $53,600: Average teacher salary in 2018-19.
- $8,600: Average teacher raise since 2013.
- 19%: Average percentage pay increase since 2013.
- $233,000: Increase in lifetime earning potential of a N.C. teacher since 2013.
- 5: Number of consecutive teacher pay raises under GOP leadership.
- 9.5%: Percentage increase in teacher salary vetoed by Gov. Roy Cooper.
- 44,647: Number of teachers who received a pay increase of at least $10,000 since 2013.
- $2 billion+: Increase in recurring yearly funding for education since 2013.
A great resource for teacher pay information can be found at ncteacherraise.com.
School safety bill passes House
With today’s school shooting in Texas, school safety is front-of-mind for members of the General Assembly.
The Select Committee on School Safety met over the legislative interim to produce 14 recommendations to improve school safety in North Carolina. On Thursday, the House acted on the committee’s first recommendation by passing House Bill 933 — Reciprocity/School Psychologist Licensure.
The General Assembly appropriated funds for school psychologists as part of last year’s budget, but positions remain unfilled due to licensure restrictions currently in place. House Bill 933 addresses that problem by granting “a license to practice as a school psychologist to any individuals who hold the nationally certified school psychologist credential,” according to the bill.
The bill now heads to the Senate for their consideration.
You can expect to see the House consider several of the House Select Committee on School Safety’s recommendations over the next few weeks. We will be moving quickly to implement improvements to school safety.
N.C. port development benefits economy statewide
Economic activity at our state’s ports has been constrained for decades.
Large ships could neither enter nor navigate waters around our coast due to improper dredging — the water was too shallow. Even if ships could navigate the waters, our ports did not have the proper equipment to unload and load large ships — our cranes weren’t big enough.
Today, our waters are navigable. Today, new, larger cranes are being installed at the Port of Wilmington.
Two Neo-Panamax cranes at the Port of Wilmington will be fully operational in about 30 days. I took the opportunity to tour the port a couple of months ago as part of my work on transportation committees in the House of Representatives. You would not believe the size and scale of these cranes in person.
Increased operations at our ports will boost economic activity across North Carolina. The new cranes at the Port of Wilmington will be able to remove more containers from larger ships, and load those containers onto trains and trucks more quickly.
Truck drivers who live in Western North Carolina will benefit from the increased commercial activity at our ports. Any businesses that import products from around the world, or that export products, will benefit as well.
If you or someone you know owns a business that produces physical goods, you may want to take a look at export opportunities provided by our ports.