Business leaders from Chambers of Commerce of North Carolinaâs Eastern Region (CCNCER) met in Raleigh last week with legislators to highlight priorities for the 2013 General Assembly session.
Ed Wilson, Chair of CCNCER, outlined the priorities for more than 40 business leaders and legislators. The group developed their list around 4 key areas: the regionâs economy, the regionâs future, the regionâs landscape and the regionâs leadership. Representative Joe Tolson, (D) Edgecombe, and Representative Brian Brown (R), Pitt, provided comments on the session to date and thanked the organization for its work on behalf of the Eastern Region.
CCNCERâs legislative priorities for 2013 are: Grow Our Regionâs Economy (Tax Reform, Economic Development, Workforce Development, Small Business)
- Protect our Military: CCNCER requests that the General Assembly pass legislation requiring compatibility of development with military needs and missions in order to eliminate encroachment or impairments to military training without state approval. Also pass legislation requiring notice to potentially impacted military installations and the governing body of potentially affected counties and municipalities of any economic development or other projects that may impact military installations.
- Modernize State Tax Code: CCNCER supports the NC Chamberâs position that tax modernization is important to North Carolina’s business community because tax policy is de facto economic development policy. CCNCER and the NC Chamber will work to advance tax code reforms that enhance North Carolinaâs competitive position and increase certainty for businesses.
- Preserve Hospital Tax Exemption: Hospitals in the Eastern Region reinvest $20 million in sales tax rebates into our health care system. CCNCER supports tax reform that protects sales tax rebates for our tax-exempt hospitals.
- Invest in North Carolinaâs Ports: The North Carolina State Ports Authority is a catalyst for economic growth and development throughout the Eastern Region. NC Ports provide 5,000 jobs and generate $42 million annual tax revenues in our 13 counties (ourncports.com). CCNCER supports adequate funding as an investment that will ensure that our state ports are able to compete in the global economy and attract and retain business for North Carolina. Guided by the comprehensive report compiled in 2012, the âNorth Carolina Maritime Strategy,â CCNCER encourages the Ports Authority to pursue viable opportunities for business growth and expansion at the Port of Morehead City that are compatible with our tourism and water-based industries.
Provide for Our Regionâs Future (Education)
- Preserve Low-Wealth Funding Formula and Small County Supplemental Funding for Education: In North Carolinaâs Eastern Region, eleven of thirteen counties currently receive additional funds through the low-wealth funding formula, resulting in almost $39 million for our schools and our region. We currently have 5 counties (Craven, Jones, Onslow, Pitt and Wilson) at the top end of the formula (85% or higher). If the five counties are factored out of the equation, our region could lose more than $10.5 million in education funding. Furthermore, counties east of I-95 are significantly impacted by the low wealth funding formula. Small County Supplemental Funding provides more than $4.7 million in funding to Jones, Greene and Pamlico counties. Enhance Our Regionâs Landscape (Infrastructure, Environment, Transportation, Waterways)
- Preserve DOT Equity Formula: Oppose changes to the current NCDOT Equity Formula and support existing schedules and funding for Hwy 70 & Hwy 17 upgrade projects. The current NC Department of Transportation Equity Formula requires the equitable distribution of State Transportation Improvement Program funds among the regions. Unbalanced changes to the Equity Formula and lack of funding for long-standing improvement projects will adversely impact the long-term economic development of Eastern North Carolina. Empower Our Regionâs Leadership
- Eastern Region Caucus: CCNCER formally requests that legislators in our region form an Eastern Region Caucus.
- Regional Alignment/Regulatory Efficiency: CCNCER supports the realignment of regulatory agencies for efficiency purposes but request that the Eastern Economic Development Region remain intact. To remain competitive in job creation, it is imperative that education agencies partner with economic development authorities to provide for our future workforce needs. In addition, the Eastern Region is unique in that the County Commissioners of the 13 counties approved a $5 license fee and those resources continue to be on loan for economic development purposes.
CCNCER is a coalition of Chamber executives and business leaders from the thirteen counties that comprise North Carolinaâs Eastern Region. These leaders work to foster a spirit of regionalism, to advocate on behalf of the regionâs businesses, and to support and leverage business and community opportunities in innovative ways among chambers in the region. The goal is to create a business climate that benefits both the people of the Region and the organizations that do business here. The thirteen counties of the Region are Carteret, Craven, Duplin, Edgecombe, Greene, Jones, Lenoir, Nash, Onslow, Pamlico, Pitt, Wayne and Wilson.