Job creators know that balanced legal protections for employers and a streamlined regulatory landscape that fosters business growth are two of the biggest factors separating the most competitive states from those stuck in the middle of the pack in the global jobs race. In recent sessions, the NC Chamber and our allies have worked hard to encourage state leaders to strengthen these crucial components of North Carolina’s competitive business climate.
In 2015, important modernizations to the State Environmental Protection Act (SEPA) removed a number of duplicative state-level compliance burdens, enabling job growth to continue at the pace of business. That same session, House Bill 405 (Property Protection Act) provided a much-needed legal fix that reaffirmed the rights of business owners in disputes over trespassing and other fraudulent activities. And 2016 saw additional pro-growth victories on these fronts, including clarifications over rights-of-way regulations that prevented municipalities from double-taxing local businesses, and more robust limited liability protections for contractors in the IT industry which brought North Carolina into alignment with both federal laws and those of competing states.
Thanks to these and other balanced measures, our state jumped from 20th overall all the way into the list of the top 10 most competitive legal climates in the country according to the most recent Lawsuit Climate Survey conducted by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform in 2015 (North Carolina is now ranked 7th). But complacency is not something we advocate for here at the NC Chamber; we know our competitors will not be standing still, and it is imperative that we continue to encourage state leaders to pursue greater regulatory and legal balance in 2017. As part of this year’s Jobs Agenda, we will continue to push for reduced red tape and fewer artificial constraints on business growth. And we’ll be proposing corporate governance reforms specifically targeted at improving North Carolina’s ability to compete with states like Delaware for headquarter location.
We will continue to keep you updated on these issues as the long session commences. In addition, with a new Presidential administration raising questions about how a changing federal regulatory landscape could impact our national competitiveness – and your company’s compliance process – we wanted to remind you that it’s not too late to sign up for our 2017 Environmental Compliance Conference, taking place in Durham next Tuesday, Jan. 31 at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel & Conference Center. This informative event will supply you with everything you need to keep your company in compliance with both state and federal regulations – so sign up today before registration closes for good.
Gary J. Salamido
Vice President, Government Affairs
North Carolina Chamber