Since the 2010 election and change in political control, the new General Assembly leadership has strived to improve North Carolina’s economy through pro-business legislation and job creation proposals. We believe that these improvements are a starting point for rebuilding North Carolina’s economy, returning our citizens to work and prosperity.
The biggest problem with North Carolina having one of the worst tax environments for business in the Southeast is that we are not competitive with our three closest neighbors – Virginia, South Carolina and Tennessee. Lowering corporate taxes and enhancing the business tax environment in our state would declare to all that North Carolina is “open for business.”
Over-regulation and burdensome rules stifle innovation and hurt job creation. Too much government encroachment creates expensive and complex hurdles that only accountants and lawyers can figure out. This legislative session’s passage of the Regulation Reform Act of 2011 brought much-needed help to businesses and our citizens, but it is only a start. If North Carolina business is freed from the bureaucratic morass that has entangled it more and more over the last fifteen years, our economy and jobs can flourish.
To remain competitive with other states, frivolous lawsuits that add unnecessary costs to North Carolina’s businesses must be reduced. Currently, doctors practice defensive medicine to avoid liability lawsuits and pay for outrageous malpractice insurance, or they leave our state. Businesses must spend money on lawyers and extra measures to ward off predatory trial lawyers.
Workers who have been injured on the job should be compensated for lost wages in a reasonable manner and get them back to work as soon as possible. Many states have implemented caps on how long injured workers are able to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Recently, this common sense solution was enacted in North Carolina as well, providing reasonable benefits to workers while not crippling our state’s businesses and hurting their ability to create and provide jobs. This example of responsible business policy is a step in the right direction and we continue to encourage the study of this issue and ways to improve workers’ compensation even more as a cornerstone to pro-business public policy reform.
Where unions are strong, business stagnates. Big unions increasingly pour more money into our state to impact our elections. One key source of union activity to watch is the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 2008 (known also as the State Employees Association of NC). Increased union activity in our state threatens jobs – which is why we must continue to keep North Carolina a “Right to Work” state and oppose union-backed legislation like “card-check.”
The sluggish economy and record high unemployment have plagued North Carolina’s citizens. We must foster expansion in traditional industries as well as promote expansion into new fields of industry in order to rebuild our economy. Legislation supporting research, innovation, education, and expansion of both traditional industry and new fields of commerce must be a cornerstone of public policy in North Carolina in order to equip our workforce to compete globally.