In recent years, globalization and corporate consolidation haven’t been kind to North Carolina. That could be changing.
An economy built on textiles, tobacco and furniture manufacturing vanished in less than a generation. Nationally-known name brands headquartered in North Carolina – like Wachovia, Burroughs Wellcome, Centura, Lorillard and Jefferson-Pilot – either disappeared from the face of the earth or became rump regional outposts of national and international conglomerates. To see how dramatically this impacted our state, take a quick glance at the list of Fortune 1000 companies headquartered in North Carolina in 2000.
The loss of prestige hurt North Carolina’s pride but the attendant loss of high-paying middle management positions and the community support that accompanies a company headquarters did real economic damage to the state’s communities.
When they took the majorities, starting in 2010, conservative reformers in the legislature made restoring North Carolina’s economic competitiveness Priority #1.
State Senate Leader Phil Berger wrote about the conservative philosophy that’s driven these changes in The Charlotte Observer.
We won’t bore you with the multitude of details involved in implementing these conservative policy decisions including passing the Gold Standard for State Tax Reform, building state emergency reserves to record levels, the NC Promise affordable college tuition program, the expansion of school choice programs to meet the needs of the state’s diverse student population, and careful, prudent budgeting that’s resulted in record state budget surpluses.
These conservative policies paid big dividends with the news that Apple – the world’s largest company – will build its first East Coast campus in the Research Triangle Park, bringing a minimum of 3,000 jobs, an average wage of almost $200,000 and over $1 Billion in capital investment.