State Chamber of Commerce Sends Annual Jobs Agenda to General Assembly
RALEIGH, N.C. – The NC Chamber today released its list of 2019 legislative priorities, which it will use to guide advocacy efforts at the North Carolina General Assembly. The annual “Jobs Agenda” is developed with input from key business leaders and builds upon the data-driven solutions identified in the Chamber’s strategic plan for the state’s future: North Carolina Vision 2030.
North Carolina Vision 2030 focuses on the four key issue areas identified by NC Chamber members as those most important for North Carolina’s continued growth and economic competitiveness: Education and Talent Supply, Competitive Business Climate, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and Infrastructure and Growth Leadership.
“Business has always been at the forefront of driving positive change in North Carolina, and this year’s Jobs Agenda demonstrates that continued commitment to problem solving and progress,” said Gary J. Salamido, Chief Operating Officer and Acting President of the NC Chamber. “These priorities are more than just policies and bills—they are creative and visionary solutions that will lead to meaningful change for job creators, workers and families throughout the state. We look forward to working with legislators on both sides of the aisle to advance the priorities of the statewide business community and ensure that North Carolina is the best place in the world to do business.”
Read the 2019 Jobs Agenda here or below:
Education and Talent Supply
- Maintaining strong academic standards that prepare our students for a competitive workforce is a top priority for the NC Chamber. As the North Carolina State Board of Education prepares to revise science standards this year, the NC Chamber will engage with stakeholders to protect and improve high-quality standards. The Chamber will also work to ensure that the State Board follows the revision process adopted in March 2018.
- The North Carolina Pre-K program is the cornerstone in grade-level reading proficiency. As such, the NC Chamber will continue advocating to remove obstacles that prevent a 75% enrollment rate of eligible children in the Pre-K program. This enrollment rate will help set the stage for meeting 3rd-grade reading proficiency goals.
- Dual enrollment in the Career and College Promise Program increases college readiness, career opportunities and credentials for high school students. The NC Chamber supports this program and will work to ensure that all high schools have access to both college and career advising. This will help ensure that students are aware of many different options after high school, including four-year colleges, community colleges and career-focused programs.
- The NC Chamber will continue to seek out and advocate for high-quality academic pathways that reach all North Carolina students through college readiness programs or career opportunities such as apprenticeships and technical education.
- The NC Chamber will work closely with the North Carolina Community College System to identify policy reforms and initiatives that increase enrollment and deliver quality education and training and increase access for currently employed workers. A close examination of funding methodologies, along with regional collaboration among community colleges, provides a pathway for these types of opportunities.
- Ensuring that districts can recruit high-quality teachers is critical for workforce development and underlies the NC Chamber’s workforce policy agenda. The NC Chamber will work to support policies and opportunities, including those inspired by the private sector that strengthen the talent pipeline.
Competitive Business Climate
- The NC Chamber will work to cap, reduce, and eliminate the state franchise tax over the next five years as it is a regressive tax that penalizes North Carolina businesses for tangible investments on their business.
- Following several tax changes passed in the 2018 legislative session, the NC Chamber will work to decouple from the Internal Revenue Code section 163(j) “limit deduction on interest expense.” The Chamber will also work to repeal the expansion of the franchise tax on small businesses.
- The NC Chamber is committed to bringing value-driven health care to North Carolina in order to improve health outcomes and make costs more predictable and affordable. For this reason, the NC Chamber supports association health plans.
- The NC Chamber will oppose legislation that expands the number of health insurance mandates imposed on North Carolina businesses as they unduly increase health care costs for employers.
- The NC Chamber will continue to oppose the elimination of Certificate of Need (CON) while working to advance CON reforms that reduce cost to the healthcare system and business.
- The NC Chamber will advance tort and civil liability reforms that regain North Carolina’s position as a top-10 state for legal business climate, including reforms that provide certainty and protect companies from frivolous nuisance lawsuits.
- The NC Chamber will work to defeat legislation that erodes the balanced reforms to North Carolina’s workers’ compensation laws. In addition, the NC Chamber will fight to maintain balance on the North Carolina Industrial Commission by supporting and/or opposing nominees during the confirmation process.
Infrastructure and Growth Leadership
- The NC Chamber will advocate for policy recommendations outlined in the NC Chamber Foundation’s regulatory competitiveness and water studies.
- The NC Chamber will seek to streamline the contested case process to promote efficiency and predictability for businesses to simplify and accelerate project delivery.
- The NC Chamber will identify additional, diversified revenue sources to stabilize North Carolina road, rail, and port (land and air) infrastructure investments, advocating for recommendations made in the NC Chamber Foundation’s transportation study.
Entrepreneurship and Innovation
- The NC Chamber will advocate to establish a research and development grant program for early-stage and start-up businesses.
- The NC Chamber will seek and promote policies that encourage angel investing and venture capital investment in North Carolina companies.
- Federal tax reform provided opportunities for states to create qualified Opportunity Zones that “are low-income census tracts where tax incentives may accrue to those who invest and hold their capital gains in OZ assets or property.” The NC Chamber will work with lawmakers and stakeholders to promote Opportunity Zones and will work to advance policy recommendations that encourage business investment in non-urban and distressed areas of the state.
About the NC Chamber:
The NC Chamber is the leading business advocacy organization in North Carolina. It works in the legislative, regulatory and political arenas to establish a globally competitive workforce and create an enviable business climate that fuels statewide economic prosperity. For more information, visit www.ncchamber.com.