Burke County Chamber of Commerce
Legislative Survey: Mixed Concerns among Chamber Members

Legislative Survey: Mixed Concerns among Chamber Members

Chamber members’ opinions on government are as diverse as their businesses, based on the results of the 2014 Legislative Survey. 

The closest that members came to consensus was that both Washington and Raleigh are moving in the “wrong direction” on laws, regulations, taxation and other government oversight of business. On a 10-point rating scale of right-to-wrong direction, the state, at 6.4, fared slightly better than its federal counterpart at 7.9.

When it came to the top three concerns on the federal front affecting business and industry,  members said healthcare, taxes and regulations/ government waste topped the list.

The top three concerns on the state front were jobs/economic development, education and taxes, with healthcare a close fourth among the priorities.

There was even less agreement among members on one thing the state could for their business to help them create jobs.

To see a broad sampling of these suggestions and to read a more complete report of survey results,

The 2014 Legislative Survey

 During February 2014, the Burke County Chamber of Commerce conducted a survey of the membership to determine their perspectives on the overall direction of state and federal governments regarding the business sector and legislative priorities for Washington and Raleigh. The following report of findings Includes representative comments from the survey on questions 3, 4, and 5.

1) Please indicate on a 1-10 scale whether you believe changes in FEDERAL laws, regulations, taxation and other government oversight of business are generally moving in the right or wrong direction (with 1 being “Right Direction” and 10 being “Wrong Direction”).  

Overall result: 7.9 Wrong Direction

2) Please indicate on a 1-10 scale whether you believe changes in NORTH CAROLINA laws, regulations, taxation and other government oversight of business are generally moving in the right or wrong direction (with 1 being “Right Direction” and 10 being “Wrong Direction”).  

Overall result: 6.4 Wrong Direction

3) In order of importance to you, please list your top three concerns or issues at the FEDERAL level affecting your business or industry. Results in order of prevalence:

Healthcare  – Including “ObamaCare mandates,” overall costs; impact on small businesses, complexity; uncertainty, no real competition for plans in NC, mental health disparities, cuts to Medicaid and Medicare, “both parties need to work together” )

Taxes – “excessive,” complex, “business killing taxes and regulations,” disparities between salaries/benefits of federal vs. state employees

Regulations/Government Waste (Tied for third) – Cost to business, lack of clear direction, complex, too many regulations, regulations not keeping pace  with changes in technology, influence peddling, too many incentives not to work, minimum wage proposals, environmental regulations, regulations on financial services

4) In order of importance to you, please list your top three concerns or issues at the STATE (i.e., NORTH CAROLINA) level affecting your business or industry. Results in order of prevalence:

Jobs/Economic Development – Lack of direction in economic development, need greater focus on creating job skills,  need long-term solution to  unemployment benefits and cost to business,” unfavorable laws to commercial and industrial development,” oppressive/unfavorable zoning and environmental laws/regulations, failing to address deteriorating infrastructure, economic development process needs streamlining, film incentive should continue, under-funding of Department of Tourism, “red tape” running off businesses, concerned over regulations limiting offshore drilling, taxes still to high to attract “:mega-industry,” economic stagnation in rural areas, too many regulations

Education – Teacher salaries and raises, cuts in education, need more accountability for school systems budget and curriculum, need more options for students who are not college-bound,

 Taxes – Concerns over shifting tax burden to local governments, sales tax more fair than property tax, government waste, “additional sales taxes plus 5.8% income tax equate to more than I used to pay,”

A close fourth on this question was Healthcare – Costs, failure to expand Medicaid hurting business, need to implement Medicaid reform, Medicaid  inefficiencies, lack of mental health reform leaving people homeless/without care/crowding emergency rooms, cherry-picking of insured patients from non- profit hospital by groups exempt from CON under proposed changes to law,  completion of Broughton Hospital project, concerned over ObamaCare, assault on tax-exempt organizations, potential loss of tax-exempt status for non-profit hospitals, “Medicaid fiasco=less disposable income”

5) If the North Carolina General Assembly and/or the State of North Carolina could enact one change that would have the most positive impact on your company’s ability to create jobs, what would that change be?

  • Stabilize funding for education and training programs that attract new jobs and meet the needs of existing business and industry.
  • Adopt and stick with a proven business model for mental health that will survive changes in state administrations.
  • Continue to lower the cost of doing business, including corporate tax rates, with the goal to becoming the most business friendly state east of the Mississippi.
  • “Get rid of Obamacare.”
  • “Stay out of my business.”
  • Lower healthcare insurance rates and limit annual increases.
  • Reduce state approvals needed in all areas of business.
  • Enact true change in the economic development delivery system recognizing that to be competitive we need to move at the speed of business and create programs that businesses can actually use.
  • Streamline major state departments – they are too cumbersome and offer very little customer service.
  • Take out uncertainty in healthcare laws.
  • Restructure economic development in our region by holding grant and award recipients accountable for funds taken and jobs not created. Funds could then be used for business development that is sustainable and growing.
  • Run a campaign to current/potential businesses to waive state taxes for 8-10 years if they open a $XXXXXXXXX business in NC (similar to NY and MI)
  • Expand Medicaid.
  • Lift the dry county ban on Burke County.
  • Provide increased coverage for special needs care. Current system is supposed to allow for this in reality it does not.
  • Education reform.
  • Workforce training and development.
  • Incentives for buying American-made products.
  • Medical malpractice reform.
  • Focus more on trades training with funding and start at the high school level. The jobs are there and open but no one to fill them now. We need a skilled work ready work force to attract jobs.
  • Give teachers a 10% pay increase.
  • REGULATIONS!!!! From toilet paper makers to care giving, we are continuously hit with new and time consuming changes made by someone at the state level that does not even know the job at hand.
  • Increase Medicaid rates to hospitals.
  • Reduce the NC tax rate on capital gains.
  • Fund Medicaid.
  • STEM schools – more focus on math and engineering.
  • Concentrate on providing internet access in rural areas.
  • Eliminate corporate income taxes.
  • Tax incentives to increase new industry in Burke County.
  • Make Western Piedmont Community College into a four-year school, so that our young people could stay in our community upon graduation from high school.
  • Continue tightening up the requirements to receive unemployment benefits.

Respondent Mix;

 

Small Business or Organization         –     44%

Medium-sized Business                      –     15%

Large Employer                                    –     29%

Other                                                     –     21%

 

 

2014 Cornerstone Awards Nominations Due March 24

2014 Cornerstone Awards Nominations Due March 24

You still have a week to nominate an outstanding Burke County business and Chamber member – including your own company — for one of the Chamber’s prestigious Cornerstone Awards. Submit your nomination by next Monday, March 24 using the attached form. Send it to or drop it by the Chamber’s offices at110 East Meeting Street in downtown Morganton. The Foundation Award recognizes Burke County’s Businesses of the Year. The Impact Award pays honor to a for-profit, community-minded business for its commitment to projects and programs that improve Burke County’s quality of life.  The Diversity Award recognizes minority-owned and independently-operated and controlled businesses. The awards will be presented during special ceremonies on May 15.

Legislative Survey: Mixed Concerns among Chamber Members – Chamber members’ opinions on government are as diverse as their businesses, based on the results of the 2014 Legislative Survey.

Legislative Survey: Mixed Concerns among Chamber Members – Chamber members’ opinions on government are as diverse as their businesses, based on the results of the 2014 Legislative Survey.

Duke-Energy-Logo-4c (2)The closest that members came to consensus was that both Washington and Raleigh are moving in the “wrong direction” on laws, regulations, taxation and other government oversight of business. On a 10-point rating scale of right-to-wrong direction, the state, at 6.4,  fared slightly better than its federal counterpart at 7.9.

When it came to the top three concerns on the federal front affecting business and industry,  members said healthcare, taxes and regulations/ government waste topped the list.

The top three concerns on the state front were jobs/economic development, education and taxes, with healthcare a close fourth among the priorities.

There was even less agreement among members on one thing the state could for their business to help them create jobs.

Christine Andrews Is Ambassador of the Year — Christine Andrews from Farris Insurance was named the 2013 Ambassador of the Year at the Burke County Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Meeting at CoMMA on February 25.

Christine Andrews Is Ambassador of the Year — Christine Andrews from Farris Insurance was named the 2013 Ambassador of the Year at the Burke County Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Meeting at CoMMA on February 25.

Gold Sponsor
Gold Sponsor

Andrews currently serves customers from Farris Insurance’s Morganton and Connelly Springs offices. Altogether, she has worked in the insurance industry for nearly 20 years, but her employer said she is much more than member of the staff.

“First and foremost, Christine is a servant, in both her professional and personal life,” said Kevin Farris who along with brothers, Rick and Tim, own the insurance firm. “At work, she is tireless in her pursuit of solutions to every customer’s individual needs.  In the community, she is active in her family’s church, her children’s schools and in the Chamber as an Ambassador. At Farris Insurance, we consider her a member of the family.  Her willingness to serve and her desire to be the best that she can be are two key ingredients to the recipe of how to become a great ambassador.”

Ambassadors serve as volunteers for the Chamber. Stacey Ripley, the Chamber’s Membership Development Director, oversees the Ambassadors program. She works personally with every Ambassador not only to help them make the most of their volunteer experience but also to make their service to the Chamber and its members as meaningful as possible.

“Ambassadors represent many of our 400-plus member businesses and serve as a critical link between the Burke County Chamber of Commerce, its members and the greater business community,” Ripley said.  “You’ll see them assisting the staff at ribbon cuttings and open houses for new or expanding businesses and the wide variety of special events sponsored by the Chamber. They are up and coming community leaders, too, so we routinely call on them for their ideas and suggestions on ways to add value to the programs and services we offer as part of Chamber membership.”

Three outgoing members of the Chamber’s Board of Directors were also recognized at the Annual Meeting. Board Chairman Scott Mulwee presented plaques honoring Richard DeAugustinis, Linda Lindsey and Kenneth W. Wood for their years of service to the organization and to Burke County’s business community.

Ripley said the Chamber welcomes new volunteers from companies who are currently members or are planning to join. For more information, call the Burke County Chamber of Commerce at 828-437-3021.

Legislative Reception Set for March 21

Legislative Reception Set for March 21

Duke-Energy-Logo-4c (2)Four state lawmakers will be our guests on Friday, March 21, when the Chamber hosts the annual Legislative Reception from 8-930 am at the Community House in Morganton.

State Representatives Hugh Blackwell, Mike Hager and Josh Dobson and State Senator Warren Daniel will preview the upcoming Short Session of the NC General Assembly that begins in May. Tickets to the Legislative Reception are $15.00, and seating is limited, so call the Chamber today to reserve your seats at 828-437-3021 or e-mail Dorothea Jolly at djolly@burkecounty.org.

 

2014 Annual Meeting

2014 Annual Meeting

Space is filling up fast, so if you don’t make your reservations this week for the Chamber’s Annual Meeting, here’s a partial list of what you’ll miss:

– A selection of delicious foods and desserts by JD’s Smokehouse, Downtown Delights, My Local Bakery and Reed’s Catering
– Local libations by Silver Fork Winery and Fonta Flora Brewery
– Live music by a string quartet
– Networking opportunities at every turn
– The presentation of our Ambassador of the Year Award

The event will be held next Tuesday, February 25, at CoMMA from 6-7:30 pm. To encourage all Chamber members to attend, the ticket price has been reduced to $25 per person this year from last year’s $40 price.  To join the fun, call the Chamber at 828-437-3021 or e-mail Dorothea (djolly@burkecounty.org) to purchase your tickets. By the way, your ticket price includes two complimentary beverages, so what’s not to like?. Special thanks go to Farris Insurance, our 2014 Gold Sponsor for the Annual Meeting.

 

 

Theme: Overlay by Kaira 110 East Meeting Street, Morganton, NC 28655
2020 Burke County Chamber of Commerce | All Rights Reserved
css.php