Wednesday, August 10, 2016

August 2016 - NC House Update

There have been notable developments over the last few weeks related to public policy in North Carolina. Here is a quick summary of news that may not have been widely reported in the press.

State Budget Revenue is Strong

New projections from the State Budget Office indicate that North Carolina is expected to have a $425 million revenue surplus, which is above projections from a few months ago. This is due to an increase in employment, stronger economic activity and sound budget policy. You won't hear this reported often in the media, but this is great news for North Carolina.

Business Tax Cuts

Due to strong budget revenue, there will be a reduction in North Carolina's business tax. It will be reduced from 4 percent to 3 percent in January 2017, which is down from 6.9 percent a few years ago. This will increase economic activity, encourage job creation and improve our overall business climate.

Our Economy Continues to Grow

The private sector in North Carolina has added over 300,000 net new jobs since 2013. Our State GDP is among the strongest in the nation, and our rate of job creation has out-paced the national average. The unemployment rate in North Carolina has been reduced to pre-recession levels, indicating that our economic recovery is moving in the right direction.

Supporting Our Veterans

The state legislature has taken action to support veterans in North Carolina. These steps include the creation of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs; providing in-state tuition for veterans at North Carolina community colleges and universities; allowing military experience to convert to college credit and professional licensing; and creating Veteran Treatment Courts.

Crowd Funding Becomes Lawful

Governor Pat McCrory recently signed legislation to allow "crowd funding," which is a mechanism for small businesses to raise private capital from non-accredited investors. This levels the playing field for entrepreneurs who find it difficult to access capital from large banks and venture capital funds. It is important to remember that small businesses are the backbone of our economy.

CSX Expands in North Carolina

Officials recently announced that CSX is opening a cargo terminal in Edgecombe County, which will create upwards of 1,500 jobs throughout North Carolina. The company, which transfers cargo between trains and trucks, will invest $160 million in the project. This will have a positive impact on our State's economy.

North Carolina School Rankings Improve

North Carolina has improved 18 spots in Wallet Hub's ranking of education quality. We are now ranked 19th in the country for school quality and safety among all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The study was done using several metrics to study school quality and safety.

The WalletHub report can be found here:

North Carolina Scores High with CNBC

CNBC recently ranked North Carolina number five on their annual list of America's Top States for Business. The metrics used to provide these rankings include workforce, cost of doing business, infrastructure, economy, education, quality of life, etc. Although this is a strong score for North Carolina, our goal is to one day reach the top spot.

Enhanced Teacher Pay / Textbook Funding 

This year's budget increases teacher pay by an average of 4.7 percent and enhances funding for textbooks. Teacher pay has increased at a steady pace in North Carolina over the last three years. The average salary for teachers will soon exceed $50,000 per year, and when benefits are included, total compensation will be approximately $65,000 per year.

This graph shows how teacher pay has increased over the last few budget cycles, which was done under Republican control; Republicans took the full majority (House, Senate and Governorship in 2013).

This graph shows how textbook funding has increased steadily over the last few budget cycles. There is more work to do (we need to utilize technology in the classrooms and try to reduce the costs of textbooks), but we are moving in the right direction.

Union Square Campus

It was an honor to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony for Union Square Campus in Greensboro. It is a state-of-the-art facility that provides training for health care professionals. NC A&T, UNC-G, GTCC and Cone Health worked as partners in creating the facility. The state legislature provided funding to help complete the campus, which will be an asset for higher education in our community.

This is Pat Danahy, who serves on the Board of Directors for Union Square Campus. He worked hard to make this project become a reality.

Campaign Season Approaches

Our campaign is in full gear as we approach this year's election on November 8th. I would be honored to have your support of my reelection efforts. If you wish to make a donation, you can do so on my website:

Or you can mail a donation to:

Jon Hardister for NC House
P.O. Box 4113
Greensboro, NC 27404

Thank you for your support!

Quote to Remember

"There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self."
- Ernest Hemingway