“BY FRANK DOWD IV, RON JOYCE AND GARLAND TUCKER
If you listen to the press, you would believe every North Carolina business executive is up in arms against Governor McCrory and the Republican legislature over the HB2 issue. That’s just not true.
Most of us give very little thought to how people use bathrooms and showers. We spend our time thinking about our customers, our employees and our businesses. But we all agree that government at all levels often oversteps and makes it harder to innovate and create jobs.
The real story is how McCrory and the Republican legislature rescued North Carolina from years of fiscal mismanagement and slow growth. They inherited a state with the 5th highest unemployment rate in the nation, some of the highest individual and corporate tax rates in the southeast, an employment insurance debt of $2.8 billion owed to the feds, and $500 million in annual Medicaid overspending. The turnaround is nothing less than astounding.
Since the Republican majority and Gov. Pat McCrory began their historic 2013 tax reforms, the economic record of North Carolina is the envy of the nation. Even Virginia’s Democratic governor said his effort to lower the Virginia corporate tax was a “…direct response to North Carolina’s effort to lower its corporate tax rate….” North Carolina lowered its 6.9 percent corporate rate in 2014 to 3 percent – lowest in the nation among states with the tax.
More significantly, North Carolina cut income tax rates for all working North Carolinians, changing from rates ranging from 6 percent to 7.75 percent to a single rate of 5.8 percent. Next year, the rate will fall again. North Carolina will go from having the highest income tax rate in the southeast to the lowest rate among its neighbors.
But taxes aren’t the only story. Since 2013, North Carolina has added more than 300,000 jobs and the number of unemployed in North Carolina is 45 percent lower. That’s hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens relieved of the stress and anxiety of being out of work and now able to provide for their families.
Not only are jobs on the rise, so are incomes. North Carolina posted the highest median household income growth in the nation since the beginning of 2013, more than doubling the U.S. average. Additionally, the $2.8 billion employment insurance debt has been re-paid and the $500 million annual Medicaid overspending ended.
Reversing another trend, North Carolina has experienced 10 consecutive quarters of per capita income growth equal to or greater than the national average, the best stretch of growth in 20 years. If our state’s economy had merely matched the national average for income growth during those 10 quarters, our economy would be smaller by $4 billion.
Such broad-based gains add up to significant improvements in the well-being of North Carolinians. For the poorest among us, the number and percentage of families and children living in poverty have decreased each year since 2013. This strongly improving economy enables the governor and legislature to make significant investments in infrastructure and education, which benefits all.
Because of the reforms passed by Governor McCrory and the legislature more people are working and paychecks are growing. This is why McCrory and the Republican legislature enjoy the strong support of business people like us.
Frank Dowd IV is the chairman of the board of Charlotte Pipe and Foundry. Ron Joyce is the president and CEO of Joyce Farms. Garland Tucker is the chairman of the board of directors at Triangle Capital.”