Jobs and the Economy in northeastern North Carolina By: Representative Bob Steinburg, NC House District 1

Jobs and the Economy in northeastern North Carolina
By: Representative Bob Steinburg, NC House District 1
(Special to the Albemarle Tradewinds)

Everyone is in favor of living in an area where individuals can make a living wage (defined as a wage large enough to support an average family). And why not? A good paying job will help hold together existing families and form others while at the same time rebuilding our communities. As my late sainted Mother use to say, “What’s not to like about that?”
Like many states in the rust belt who lost jobs to cheap labor overseas, it eventually happened here. When the textile industry moved out, with it went many of the staple jobs that had been part of the nucleus of our regions economy. We learned painfully there would be no quick fix. Many of our folks suddenly found themselves without a job. They faced the difficult choice of either uprooting their families for opportunities elsewhere or staying here and trying to cobble together enough income to just get by until something happened to change the economic dynamics of the region. A long-range plan was needed. That didn’t happen until 2012 when Republicans secured the majority in the General Assembly and elected Republican Pat McCrory Governor.
The first objective was to strengthen the state’s overall fiscal health. North Carolina was in very rough shape. Through a series of tax cuts and reductions in wasteful spending we began to see progress. We reduced and in some cases, eliminated our debt, creating budget surpluses instead of annual deficits.
Existing businesses, who up until now had been sitting on the sidelines with any plans for expansion and job creation, felt like now they could more confidently invest in their own businesses. We witnessed Hampton Farms Jimbos Jumbos Peanut facility in Edenton build a 181,000 square foot addition that added 90 jobs. They are currently running 24 hours a day, seven days a week and business is bursting at the seams.
Colony Tire invested a huge amount of money in expanding its retread facility in a major league way and purchasing state of the art equipment creating many new jobs.
Regulator Marine has also expanded its boat building facility and hired and trained many skilled employees to help meet the growing demand for their quality boats worldwide. These are but a few of the many businesses in our region that benefitted from a plan of action to turn our region around from one of double digit unemployment and despair to cutting those rates in half and creating opportunities.
In 2014 I sponsored legislation that allowed our region to be incorporated into the Virginia Port Authorities Foreign Trade Zone. Now we can offer manufacturers, importers and exporters from around the nation and the world an opportunity to locate their businesses here where they will receive tax advantages that were not heretofore available. The Port of Norfolk is among the largest and deepest ports on the east coast and can accommodate super cargo ships that few ports can. Land in our region is cheap and plentiful and open for business.
There is now an officially designated Interstate Highway number assigned to link Norfolk to Raleigh through the heart of northeastern North Carolina. Interstate 87 is now an infrastructure improvement slated to be added to our nation of interstate highways. This alone will forever change our part of the state from being an economic stepchild to becoming a major player in North Carolina and beyond.
Economic opportunities should abound for generations to come. Dare and Currituck counties will benefit from the Mid-Currituck Bridge, which after 30 years of trying, is going to be built. I have worked tirelessly with others to make this pipe dream a reality. It will be good for the Outer Banks expanding tourism economy.
Northeastern North Carolina has a promising and burgeoning future because of a plan put in place in 2013 by Republicans. These policies are working. A Chinese Tire Manufacturer recently announced it will come to Edgecombe County. They will provide over 800 jobs to our region with an average annual salary more than $50,000. With it will be other companies including suppliers that this tire manufacturer will require to have facilities near its plant.
More jobs are on the way for northeastern North Carolina. The future is bright. Our long-range plan is working. That’s great news for those of us who call northeastern North Carolina home.

Jobs and the Economy in northeastern North Carolina By: Representative Bob Steinburg, NC House District 1 Jobs and the Economy in northeastern North Carolina By: Representative Bob Steinburg, NC House District 1 Reviewed by kensunm on 7:00:00 PM Rating: 5

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