Growing North Carolina's Economy via Data, Not Political Positions
Governor Pat McCrory says solid data will be the foundation of the state's long-term economic plan. Wednesday, Governor Pat McCrory made his third trip to the Triad in the past month. McCrory was in Greensboro at the Grandover Resort and Conference Center. He delivered the opening remarks at the North Carolina Chamber’s 72nd Annual Meeting. Business leaders and owners from across the state filled two ballrooms at the Grandover Resort and Conference Center in Greensboro. He says his administration is creating a long-term economic plan based on data tracking changes in the state’s major employment sectors including bio-tech, aerospace, manufacturing, agriculture, and travel and tourism. “We actually did a statistical analysis on which of the state's employment sectors are growing, which are stagnant and which may be decreasing so we can determine who should we recruit, which ones need incentives and which ones for which we should develop a new approach,” the governor told the gathering. Many who attended the luncheon say they like this idea.
Jack Switzer represents John Deere in North Carolina and several neighboring states. "Some of the areas he was talking about as far as the infrastructure and having at least a 20-year plan based on need instead of on political favors made a lot of sense," he said.The governor also talked about plans to develop the state’s natural gas resource. State regulators have gotten a green light to issue the first permits for fracking exploration by March 2015. Also, McCrory has said he will ask President Barack Obama’s administration to ease rules preventing seismic testing off the Atlantic coast to measure potential natural gas and oil deposits. Gretchen Jeffers is an agent sales and development manager with U.S. Cellular. "Fracking, I think it's a great idea although I know there is a lot of controversy around that. I think we need to get a little more innovative when it comes to energy and natural resources," she said.But not everyone agrees with Governor McCrory’s education plans for our state. His administration is at odds with teacher organizations and several school districts over delays in teacher raises, allowing students to use school vouchers to attend private school and ending teacher tenure. The Durham Public School Board of Education just announced it will join Guilford County’s School Board in a lawsuit challenging the state law ending teacher tenure. It requires district superintendents to choose 25% of their teachers who voluntarily give up tenure for four-year contracts with annual $500 raises. Opponents argue the law’s language is too vague and it should cover more teachers. The new law ends tenure for all teachers in 2018.Members of the Wake County School Board say they will ask Governor McCrory and legislators to repeal the law but have not rejected the possibility of taking legal action. But Wednesday, some business leaders said they support ending teacher tenure. Rondi Ferguson believes the governor is moving in the right direction. She's the vice president and general manager for CenturyLink in North Carolina. "I think people need to be compensated and rewarded based on performance not length of service in a position."
McCrory assured the audience his top two priorities are to reform the state’s education system, so it will better support teachers and to invest more in commerce development.