While the unemployment rates in most of North Carolina’s metropolitan counties are lower than the state rate of 8.9 percent, many of our state’s rural counties have unemployment rates in excess of 12 percent. These alarming unemployment statistics call for an innovative approach to bring investment and, most importantly, create jobs in our state’s most rural and economically distressed areas.
Currently, there is legislation in the Senate that would help entrepreneurial small business owners in rural and other low-income areas create jobs and expand their businesses by focusing on providing the most efficient way to broaden their access to affordable capital. Senate Bill 522: North Carolina New Markets Jobs Act of 2013 creates public-private partnerships (P3) to enhance investments in lower socio-economic areas of the state, reinforcing the need for private capital in North Carolina’s most rural areas. Unlike previous programs, this takes a step away from antiquated ways of bringing money in the state. The New Markets Jobs Act requires that private capital be invested and reinvested for a minimum of seven years, ensuring long-term growth for the state.
While North Carolina has significantly grown in entrepreneurship and innovation over the past decades, North Carolina needs to push long-term initiatives to be a leader in this area. The NC New Markets Jobs Act would attract private sector money and expand the flow of capital into the most economically distressed regions of the state.
North Carolina Vision 2030: A Plan for Accelerating Job Growth and Securing North Carolina’s Future, coordinated by the North Carolina Chamber Foundation, identifies Entrepreneurship and Innovation as one of the four key “pillars of a secure future.” North Carolina must consistently foster innovation and entrepreneurship that leads to capital formation, investment, employment and good jobs. The North Carolina Chamber supports SB522 and its efforts to promote long-term entrepreneurship and innovation throughout North Carolina.
The North Carolina Chamber appreciates the leadership of bill sponsor Senator Rick Gunn (R-Alamance, Randolph) and his work on legislation that will positive economic and job creation opportunities for our state. SB522 is currently in the Senate Finance Committee, and we will continue to keep you updated as it moves through the legislative process.