It often gets overshadowed and lost in the news, but North Carolina is home to one of the fastest growing economies in the country. Each day, it seems there is an announcement of new jobs, higher wages and more investments coming to our great state.
While Apple and Amazon get the bulk of the attention, there are countless job announcements from small, medium and large businesses wanting to expand across North Carolina. In fact, North Carolina was just recognized by Forbes as the “Best State for Business” for the second year in a row.
Furthermore, this past week, the N.C. Department of Commerce released figures showing that the state gained more than 87,000 jobs over the last 12 months — with major job growth in manufacturing, hospitality, education and health services.
From agriculture and manufacturing to banking and technology, we are at the forefront when it comes to attracting some of the most exciting, sought-after and promising businesses.
A huge reason for this is the pro-growth reforms put in place by the Republican-led General Assembly over the past eight years. We have worked hard to improve the job-climate through lower taxes, fewer regulations, improved education and workforce development and sustainable and forward-looking budgeting.
Our agenda and policies have always focused on improving prosperity and growth for all North Carolinians — and the results continue to show.
North Carolina has shown the blueprint for what it takes to turn around a dismal economy plagued by reckless spending and over taxation. The numbers don’t lie. When we took over in 2011, North Carolina had a historic high 10.4 percent unemployment rate, $2.7 billion in debt and the 44th worst tax climate.
Due to the pro-job reforms we put in place, North Carolina now enjoys a 3.6 percent unemployment rate, $3 billion in savings and the 11th best tax climate. Put another way, we went from 1 in 10 being unemployed to now having the most people working in our state’s history.
While many falsely said these reforms would lead to revenue shortfalls and higher debt, the state has also reported six consecutive revenue surpluses and built up a record rainy day fund for future emergencies and natural disasters — which we have used to provide immediate relief to Hurricane Florence victims.
Simply put, a rising tide lifts all boats and our policies are doing just that. This something that all North Carolinians — regardless of party — should be proud of and celebrate. It also makes clear that we cannot afford to go back to the failed, big government policies of more spending, higher taxes and overregulation. We need to keep the momentum going.
Make no mistake, there is more work to be done — particularly in our rural communities. But our state is growing and people are moving here at record pace for a better quality of life. While the media too often likes to focus on the negative, there are so many positive things happening in North Carolina that do not get the attention they deserve.
We are experiencing historic economic and job growth that will reshape our state for generations to come. And it’s directly related to the responsible and pro-job reforms enacted by the Republican-led General Assembly. From lower taxes to balanced budgets, we must continue down this proven path of sound economic policies that has created more opportunities and prosperity for all North Carolinians.
Rep. John Bell is the N.C. House Majority Leader. Rep. Stephen Ross is the Senior Chairman of the Commerce Committee in the N.C. House.