BELL: What weve done for North Carolina

Christine T. Nguyen—The North State Journal
Members of the North Carolina House of Representatives recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the General Assembly. Legislators met Wednesday

North Carolina was once a state that was defined by slow economic growth, high unemployment, burdensome taxes, and massive federal debt. Our great state has since come a long way as a result of the hard work of numerous people, but most importantly our citizens.Today, we are one of the best states in the country, now defined by rapid job growth and lower taxes, making it easier for businesses to not only start in or move to North Carolina, but to thrive here. Businesses and individuals from across the country are flocking to North Carolina because of our amazing universities, quality of life, and endless opportunities for companies and organizations of all sorts.Our state has become an example for successful tax reform, investment in education, and the creation of an environment for small businesses to succeed. People tend to forget about what North Carolina was like only six short years ago. In 2011, Republicans took the majority in the North Carolina General Assembly for the first time in over 140 years. We inherited a state that had the eighth worst economy in the country, the fifth highest unemployment rate, and crippling federal debt and regulations on small businesses.Over the past six years we’ve lowered taxes for individuals, families, and small businesses while putting more money back into the pockets of North Carolinians. We understand that people work hard for their money and we believe they should keep more of it. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the job creators in our state; we needed to ensure that they were in an environment where they could individually function, innovate, and create without interference from crippling state taxes and regulations. North Carolina is one of the best states for business in America and we continue to attract and retain small businesses of all sorts. Tech companies and startups are moving to North Carolina because of our highly talented and educated workforce, low tax rates, and rapid population growth in our cities and towns.Every tax cut represents a story. For some families, these tax cuts have enabled families to purchase a home, save for their children’s college fund, pay off student loans, or save for retirement. North Carolina has become an example of how a state should be run and is one of the best places to live and work in America. I’m proud of our reforms, but we need to keep moving our state forward. We have to ensure that all North Carolinians are able to experience their dreams and goals.As we go forward, we must continue to focus on raising teacher pay so that we continue to attract and retain teachers. We have to continue to invest in our education system so that our children are provided with the highest possible educational quality and facilities, while building the necessary skill sets to thrive in our society.I am committed to rolling back unnecessary and burdensome regulations on businesses to provide them with the ability to create more jobs and invest in North Carolina’s economy. I will work with anyone willing to do what is best for our state and improve the lives of all North Carolinians. Personally, I’m proud of where we are today, but we can’t just pat ourselves on the back and smile. We need to continue to move North Carolina in the right direction and never look back.Rep. John Bell, a Republican from Goldsboro, is majority leader for the N.C. House of Representatives.