Governor Pat McCrory sat down with several Lincolnton business leaders Thursday afternoon to discuss North Carolina’s economic progress over the past year. The Economic Roundtable was held at the offices of the Lincoln Economic Development Association.
“I went and sat at a roundtable discussion with a variety of business leaders to discuss tax reform, regulatory reform, workman’s compensation, unemployment insurance and trying to pay off our debts, which we’re doing,” McCrory said.
Following the discussion, McCrory visited the Central Carolina Sprinkler Company on Motz Avenue.
“Well, I’m visiting those companies who really had to struggle (between 2008 and 2012), that just had to hang on for dear life,” he said. “I want to encourage them to keep going, because what we’re seeing is that the economy is starting to come back in North Carolina. They’re starting to look for new talent, and they’re looking to make money for the first time in five years. That’s what the Carolina Comeback is all about — trying to get the small businesses to buy up and then rebuild North Carolina so towns like Lincolnton can continue to have a strong economic base.”
According to McCrory, for the first time in eight years, the state’s unemployment rate is under the national average.
“We’re just very pleased,” he said. “We’ve had the largest drop in unemployment in North Carolina compared to any state in the nation. Just a year ago, we had one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, and now, we’re not even in the top 35. And it’s because of companies like this one that hung on and now are rebuilding again. These midsize small companies are the floodlight for North Carolina and this region, so we’ve got to do everything we can through our tax code, through our regulatory code and our economic policy to keep them moving. They survived one of the worst recessions this state has ever seen, and we’ve got to keep that upward momentum going here in North Carolina.”
McCrory feels that the recent tax reform has played a significant role in helping smaller businesses and industries get back on their feet.
“The fact of the matter is, before tax reform, people would go right across the border into South Carolina and move their businesses to save two or three percent on taxes,” he said. “We could no longer afford that, so we had to reform our six-year-old tax system in North Carolina. And as a result, our economy is getting better. In addition, we have to pay off the $2.5 billion that our state government and business owes the federal government for unemployment compensation. We had to make some tough decisions to make North Carolina businesses more competitive and to compete right across the border with South Carolina, and it’s working.”
McCrory’s appearance in Lincolnton was one of several visits made across the state over the past two days.
“For the last two days, we’ve been from Raleigh to High Point to Charlotte, Lincolnton and Asheville,” he said. “I’m continuing to get out of the office, get out of Raleigh, to see what’s happening on the ground, to get the people’s feedback on what’s working and what’s not working…we’re getting continual feedback on the North Carolina budget and it’s very tight. We’ve got to make some tough decisions, but we were willing to make tough decisions during my first year in office, and we’re going to need to do the same in order to rebuild the economy of North Carolina and to create jobs.”