Research Triangle Region 2008 Legislative Business Agenda Set
Education and infrastructure development top the Research Triangle Region's 2008 legislative agenda for business developed by chambers of commerce and economic development agencies across the 13-county Research Triangle Region.
The agenda, developed for the 2008 session of the N.C. General Assembly, represents the common priorities of businesses across the region, which includes Moore County.
"Our business, large and small, and our 13 counties all have unique needs, but we come together on issues of economic competitiveness that affect us all," said Charles A. Hayes, president and CEO of the Research Triangle Regional Partnership (RTRP), which coordinates the public policy-setting initiative. "Our region's innovation-based economy and economic development success require that we support education, particularly the R and D (research and development) and work force initiatives in our research universities and community colleges.
"We also need to continue developing our transportation systems and ensure that we have ample water to meet our current and future needs."
RTRP began coordinating legislative priorities for the region's business community in 2005 as part of its competitiveness strategy, called "Staying on Top: Winning the Job Wars of the Future." It is a five-year, $5 million action plan to create 100,000 jobs and boost employment in all 13 counties through a comprehensive plan implemented voluntarily by more than 90 partner organizations.
The region's 2008 legislative action agenda focuses on four key areas to support the region's economic development strategy and promote continued economic growth:
- Support for education and workforce development efforts.
- Support for increased transportation and water infrastructure investments.
- Support for continued use of economic incentives to promote job creation in the Research Triangle Region.
- Support for investments in targeted cluster infrastructure.
Here is the 2008 Research Triangle Region legislative agenda:
From 2007 Session:
n Education/ work force development support -- To ensure a qualified workforce for the region, North Carolina must continue to make the necessary investments in our educational infrastructure.
The region enjoys a world-class community college system and research universities that are conducting research that is contributing to the region and state's job creation and economic competitiveness.
- Full funding of university research in the region's identified cluster industries -- Continued investment by the state in research and development projects in the UNC system is imperative to recruiting world class R&D companies to the state.
Many innovations and discoveries are taking place in the university system and, with continued support, the state stands to benefit from future investments.
Examples of projects include a legislative study to develop a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) college tuition loan forgiveness program to encourage more science and math graduates to stay, work, innovate and grow businesses in North Carolina.
- Target cluster infrastructure investments -- North Carolina has several opportunities to maximize federal investments in the state. RTRP encourages the General Assembly to support efforts that could draw significant federal investment into our state.
- Strengthen the state's ties to the military -- The region encourages the General Assembly to continue support for the recently opened Defense and Security Technology Accelerator, which is designed to incubate technologies that assist the war fighter and intelligence officer and grow jobs in North Carolina.
The region also encourages support for the Military Business Center and efforts to attract and retain employers that support and supply the military.
- Support national bio- and agro-defense facility -- Locating such a facility in the Research Triangle region would position North Carolina as an international leader in the bio-ag cluster.
Many vaccine companies that have located in the region in recent years would benefit from the proximity of this facility. The national laboratory would bring additional high-paying jobs.
- Increase funding for community colleges for customized Industry training and equipment -- The N.C. Community College System is the state's primary source of job training. The region supports full funding of the system's equipment needs in biotechnology and allied health sectors and its job training capacity requests.
- Transportation/infrastructure investments -- The future success of the region's economy is not a given. Constant investment in transportation and infrastructure improvements are needed to sustain economic success.
The region supports turnpike gap funding legislation to assist Triangle Parkway, I-540 and other turnpike routes statewide.
The region also encourages the General Assembly to support the efforts of the 21st Century Transportation Committee and the N.C. Department of Transportation's Transformation Management process
- Reduce corporate income tax -- While North Carolina remains an attractive location to do business because of its quality of life and educated work force, the corporate income tax is higher than most states in the region. The General Assembly is asked to gradually reduce the corporate income tax over time by 1 percent, beginning this year.
New Items for
The 2008 Session:
- Establish a small business loan pool for water conservation -- Water supply has emerged as a critical issue for the state's competitiveness. Although a comprehensive plan should be developed both at the state and regional level, the region encourages the General Assembly to begin its efforts in the short session by encouraging the establishment of a low-interest revolving loan pool to help small businesses conserve water.
- Funding to attract international air service -- Air service and global connectivity are critical to the Research Triangle region's ability to attract direct foreign Investment and for regional firms to compete globally.
The region asks the General Assembly to support an additional $1 million allocation to the N.C. Department of Commerce's Travel and Tourism Division to help attract new direct international air service to serve the Research Triangle Region and eastern North Carolina.
RTRP is the public/private partnership that promotes economic development for the 13-county Research Triangle Region of North Carolina comprising Chatham, Durham, Franklin, Granville, Harnett, Johnston, Lee, Moore, Orange, Person, Vance, Wake and Warren counties.
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