NOW THEY ARE SAFE

Women, children and dogs are not safe while the General Assembly is in session … so went a popular admonition among Raleigh citizens in the past. Now they can roam the streets once more.

At 11:39 a.m. Friday, July 26, the House formally adjourned, bringing to a close a six-months session that saw major changes to state government and laws for North Carolina citizens. The Senate completed its agenda Thursday. With an overwhelming Republican majority, the Legislature set a new course for public education – expanding charter schools, offering private school vouchers for students with disabilities in low-income homes, trimming the ranks of teachers and teacher assistants. Some of the nation’s most stringent voting laws were adopted, including photo identification. Environmental laws that posed challenges to businesses were killed or modified. Income and corporate taxes were reduced.

The session was marked by partisan fights with Democrats on the losing end. “Elections have consequences,” legislative leaders reminded. But some compromises were reached. And now the spin by both political parties begin.

WINS FOR OUR CENTERS

The Manufacturing Solutions Center and the Textile Technology Center each received $150,000 in additional appropriations in the $20.6 billion state budget. The funds for the MSC will be directed at leveraging funds from the national Kauffman Foundation to promote entrepreneurs in manufacturing. This effort will be statewide. The Textile Center will use funds for staff development, according to Director Sam Buff. The center had to deal with serious cutbacks two years ago.

No question. The lobbying efforts of manufacturers in March made the appropriations a reality. So did the efforts of N.C. Senator Jerry Tillman of Randolph County, an appropriations chair. Our House supporters included Reps. Marilyn Avila, Bryan Holloway, Andy Wells, and Tim Moore.

A MANDATE FOR THE FUTURE

On page 131 in the Special Provisions for the state budget, the writers inserted paragraphs requiring the MSC and the Textile Technology Center to work closely together and purse cooperative efforts whenever possible. The lawmakers believe efficiencies can be realized through joint undertakings.

AS WE GO FORWARD

In the weeks ahead we will analyze issues addressed in the budget as they affect the business climate. We welcome your response and suggestions.

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