For the first time in a century, voters sent a new Republican-led General Assembly to Raleigh to change the way our government operates. For too long, North Carolina tried to tax and spend its way to prosperity. In addition, for too long, we lost jobs, lost businesses, failed to educate many of our children and struggled to compete. We vowed to begin fixing those problems. Furthermore, we’ve made great progress in just a short period of time. We’ve focused on crafting policies that will help rebuild our economy and restore North Carolina’s place as a leader in job growth and prosperity.
Fortunately, things are now moving in the right direction. North Carolina’s economy has steadily been gaining strength, and economists anticipate the pace of economic growth to stay on a steady, upward trend. During the previous long and short session, we’ve continued our focus on jobs. More job creators and more well-paid workers will spur growth across our state.
North Carolina’s unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent in August, 2016 according to data released by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. North Carolina’s unemployment rate is lower than the national average and has decreased in all 100 counties since 2013.
Decrease Taxes and Spending
In 2013, we implemented a comprehensive tax reform that is providing major tax relief to all North Carolina families and making our state more attractive to job-creating businesses. Following decades of Democratic control, North Carolina had the highest taxes in the Southeast. The legislature passed a tax reform plan that simplified the state’s 1930s Depression-era tax code, cut personal and corporate income tax rates, eliminated the death tax and ended dozens of loopholes for special interests, moving North Carolina from the bottom of national rankings to the 11th best business tax climate - the most improved business tax climate in the nation.
We implemented major education reforms to strengthen student literacy, improve graduation rates, reward effective teachers and give parents tools to make better informed decisions about their children’s education. Since 2013, we have committed well over $1 billion in new funding for teacher pay. We must continue investing in education and our teachers to ensure our STUDENTS gain the skills they need to succeed in life and the future workforce. Over the past two years, North Carolina has improved 18-spots in Wallet Hub's rankings of the quality of education in all 50 states, breaking through to the top-20 best schools in the country. In 2014, Wallet Hub ranked North Carolina schools 37 out of 50 states plus the District of Columbia. But in newly released rankings for 2016, North Carolina improved to No. 19.
Regulatory ReformWe passed sweeping changes to the state’s burdensome regulatory environment. The N.C. General Assembly has passed major regulatory reform bills to get rid of red tape that chokes off economic growth and make our state a more attractive place to do business. However, there is much still to do. Although I and my fellow conservatives in the Legislature made great strides, we must continue to work to reduce unemployment, taxes and spending.