North Carolina General Assembly Week in Review

July 21, 2023

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It will likely be another two weeks until any votes are held in the General Assembly, due to ongoing budget negotiations between the two chambers. House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) told members during an administrative session Thursday that no votes would likely be held until the week of August 7th. Moore withdrew the four veto override votes from Thursday’s calendar, and confirmed they would not be voted on for another two weeks. The Senate is not likely to take up any votes during that time frame either, as Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) has previously told reporters that votes in the Senate are contingent on the House taking votes on the pending veto overrides.

Race for Governor

The major party candidates running to be the next Governor of North Carolina have released their first fundraising reports of the 2024 campaign. While fundraising reports do not necessarily indicate strength among voters, they provide insight into the organizational strength of the campaigns and grassroots support for the individual candidates. The race for Governor in North Carolina is expected to be one of the most expensive in the nation.

Josh Stein, the current North Carolina Attorney General and Democratic frontrunner for the 2024 gubernatorial race, reported impressive fundraising numbers. Raising nearly $6 million in the first half of this year, Stein has outpaced the fundraising figures of Democratic Governor Roy Cooper during the same period of his campaign. Michael Bitzer, a professor of politics at Catawba College, lauded Stein’s impressive haul, stating, “This is a substantial haul above that,” referencing Governor Cooper’s fundraising. Stein’s fundraising success positions him favorably as the leading contender in the Democratic primary.

Mark Robinson, the current Lieutenant Governor, and Republican frontrunner for Governor, announced last week that his campaign would report raising $2.2 million on their mid-year report. While he lags Stein, his report significantly exceeds that of former Republican challengers for Governor during the same time period.

Former Republican Congressman Mark Walker, who is also running for Governor, has reported raising $550,000 during the first half of the year. North Carolina Treasurer Dale Folwell, who is also seeking the Republican nomination for Governor, has not yet reported fundraising numbers.

The State Board of Elections requires all candidates for state office to report mid-year finance reports by July 28.

Best for Business Ranking

North Carolina has once again emerged as the unrivaled leader in CNBC’s annual competitiveness study, earning the title of “Best State for Business” for the second year in a row. Over a decade ago, North Carolina failed to break into CNBC’s top ten rankings. However, the state has recently seen major population growth and groundbreakings for hundreds of employers.

CNBC evaluates states using a comprehensive set of 86 metrics across ten categories. North Carolina has excelled in six of these categories, positioning it among the top ten states in workforce, economy, technology and innovation, access to capital, education, and business friendliness.

The year 2023 has been a resounding success for North Carolina, boasting numerous significant economic development achievements. Notable investments include Bosch’s $130 million expansion of its power tool manufacturing facility in Lincolnton, ProKidney’s $458 million biomanufacturing facility in Greensboro, and Select Genetics’ $58 million turkey production facility in Goldsboro. These triumphs complement the previous year’s accomplishments, including Macy’s establishing their distribution complex in Rowan County, VinFast’s decision to establish its first North American plant in the state, and Wolfspeed’s expansion of semiconductor operations in Durham.

A key driver of North Carolina’s prosperity is its strong and skilled workforce, contributing to its impressive third-place ranking in the nation’s economy. With a solid growth rate and stable state finances, Moody’s has given the state an outstanding debt rating. Additionally, North Carolina’s housing market has adeptly handled the influx of new residents, underscoring its resilience and appeal.

North Carolina’s prowess in Technology & Innovation and Access to Capital also stands out, both securing a commendable sixth-place rank. The state’s ability to attract and retain educated workers, along with well-structured worker training programs, further enhances its competitive edge.

Attributing the number-one ranking to initiatives of the state legislature, Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) recognized the General Assembly’s role in maintaining the state’s position as the best in the country for business, saying the ranking is “evidence that the pro-business and pro-growth reforms created and enacted by the Republican-led state legislature are working.”

Governor Roy Cooper also applauded bipartisan efforts to recruit employers over recent years and extended his appreciation to business leaders across the state, saying “Thanks to our well-trained, dedicated and diverse workforce, North Carolina has been named the top state for business for the second year in a row and it’s important for us to invest in the education and well-being of our people to continue our amazing success.”

Upcoming Legislative Meetings

Monday, July 24

3:00 PM: House Session
3:00 PM: Senate Session