Archive for October, 2015

BUDGET WRITER QUITS

Rep. Bryan Holloway, Stokes County Republican and past budget chair, has resigned from the House of Representatives. He will become a lobbyist for the N.C. School Boards Association.

Rep. Holloway began his House tenure in 2004 and rose up the ranks when Republicans won control of the House in 2010. He was one of three co-chairs for the House Appropriations Committee on Education. Earlier this year, he made an unsuccessful bid for House Speaker. Demotions followed, as is the custom. He was denied a top chairman position.

Holloway is a pro-business, moderate Republican, who was a school teacher. He was a supporter of appropriations for business-driven efforts including the Manufacturing Solutions Center and the Textile Technology Center.

REVOLUTIONARY CHANGES? WELL, MAYBE…

As a freshman legislator, Rep. Gary Pendleton of Wake County was surprised—often stunned—at the workings and climate in the General Assembly. Long, unproductive days and weeks after the opening of the session, conflicts between the House and Senate, grumbling about low pay for legislators…all led Rep. Pendleton, a retired brigadier general, to conclude there has to be a better way. Since the close of the 2015 session, he has started a campaign to bring major changes to North Carolina’s legislative body.

Rep. Pendleton is attempting to organize a bipartisan group to develop a proposal that would go to North Carolina voters. He wants expand the term of legislators to four years. Now, with only two years, lawmakers are raising money for the next election immediately after taking the oath of office. This could require a constitutional amendment. He also would raise the base pay for legislators to $20,000 from the current $13,200. (They still get $107 per diem pay seven days a week while in session.) Sessions in odd-number years –so-called long sessions—would be limited to 90 days and even-year sessions limited to 60 days. Again, a constitutional amendment would be required.

Pendleton has recruited well-known political figures to his cause, including Phil Kirk, chief of staff for several governors and for Sen. James T. Broyhill. Business leaders from the Raleigh-Durham area and Charlotte also are working with Pendleton, according to reports.

No top leaders from the current House or Senate are identified as proponents.

SYFA MEETING

More than 100 textile executives and marketers will gather in Charlotte tomorrow and Friday for the biannual marketing conference of the Synthetic Yarn and Fibers Association. Speakers this sessions will lead presentations on “Hot Textile Technorlogies.” Innovations in performance products will be included. This conference is a “must” for regional manufacturers and supply chain companies.

MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL TIME

The Hosiery and Textiles Governmental Affairs Council now is conducting its 2016 membership campaign. We appreciate the renewals and are urging members to help us recruit new companies. The council is dedicated to the preservation of state financial support for the N.C. Textile Technology Center and the Manufacturing Solutions Center. The HTGAC agenda also includes a focus on tax and regulatory bills that affect the profitability of the industries.

THE FINAL ‘NO’ VOTE

At least six North Carolina legislators are not seeking re-election in 2016.

The most viable is Rep. Paul Stam of Wake County, a six-term veteran who is Deputy Speaker of the House. Stam has championed causes for the most conservative members of the Republican caucus, including expansion of vouchers—or scholarships—for students who prefer private schools. However, he sometimes teamed up with Rep. Rick Glazier, a progressive Democrat, on some issues. Glazier resigned his seat before the session ended.

A common complaint among those retiring is the low pay for legislators who average $13,800 a year for service. However with $105 per diem for living expenses the actual income for lawmakers is about $30,000 a year—still low for those without other income. Legislators actually are in session an average of three and a half days a week. To raise the pay would require a bipartisan undertaking—not likely in an election year.

THE LOWDOWN ON ECONOMIC INCENTIVES

A report coming out of Raleigh this week indicates that 40 percent of the companies approved for Jobs Development Incentive Grants (JDIG) actually have not added a single person to the payroll. But neither did these companies receive any compensation. The report has fueled debate over the effectiveness of the state’s business recruiting programs. Former Gov. Beverly Perdue had announced toward the end of her term in office that over 49,000 jobs had been created in the four years of her administration. Actually the total jobs added from the companies approved for grants was 19,000. Yet the state did not pay for jobs not added. (Note the Commerce Department reported that over 200,000 jobs were added to business payrolls from 2009 to 2013 when the Perdue administration ended.)

HOLIDAY SEASON HAS POLITICAL OVERTONES

For the first time, the filing period for candidates in North Carolina will occur while most voters are thinking about Christmas trees, Santa Claus, and family gatherings. Candidates, including incumbents, will be lining up at Elections Offices December 1-21 to pay filing fees. The reason

The Legislature moved the primary to early March. This means the short session will begin April 25, a month earlier, giving lawmakers more time to craft a new budget. The traditional lobbying day for hosiery and textile executives will be held May 18. Mark your calendar.

MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL

We appreciate the renewal of annual memberships which started this month. We welcome O’Mara Inc. as a new member. Our activity in Raleigh continues as we attend meetings of Legislative committees and receptions sponsored by Republicans and Democrats. None of this is possible without support of the companies we represent. Next year we will be breaking new ground. We thank you.