Gov. Pat McCrory has announced that the state unemployment trust fund has been restored to its pre-2009 balance of $1 billion. This means that employers no longer will be paying the 20 percent surcharge tax that was imposed in 2011 when the state faced a multi-million dollar debt resulting from borrowing from the federal government when state resources were depleted. The Great Recession of 2008-09 saw tens of thousands of North Carolinians sent to the unemployment lines.
The governor announced that maximum unemployment benefits will remain at $350 a week for a maximum of 26 weeks. Pre-recession benefits extended over a longer time period.
Former N.C. Rep. Dale Folwell of Forsyth County heads up the N.C. Division of Employment Security and is Under Secretary of Commerce. He was appointed by Gov. McCrory. The announcement was made a month before the filing period opens for candidates in the 2016 elections.
TEXTILE AND HOSIERY EXECUTIVE STEPS UP
Pete Glidewell, now a resident of Elon, has announced as a Democratic candidate for the Sixth Congressional District House seat. The seat now is held by Rep. Mark Walker, a first term congressman who defeated Phil Berger Jr. in the 2014 Republican primary.
Glidewell’s 40-year career has included sales and marketing executive for Alba-Waldension Hosiery Mill in Valdese, vice president for Brown Wooten Hosiery Co. in Burlington, president and CEO of Amsco Craftsman Hosiery, and CEO of Chatham Manufacturing. He is now a principle in a textile consulting company based in Elon.
U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE CONTACT
Former N.C. Rep. Deborah Ross of Wake County has asked to meet with textiles and hosiery executives to discuss industry priorities. Ross, a Democrat who served as a chair of the House Finance Committee, has announced for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Sen. Richard Burr. Anyone interested in meeting Mrs. Ross is encouraged to contact the HTGAC. Similar sessions will be arranged with other candidates.
A DIFFERENT IMMIGRATION
Since 2010 some 50 North Carolina counties have lost population. Generation X and millennials have moved to urban areas where jobs and a preferred lifestyle can be found. By 2020, Mecklenburg and Wake counties will have over 20 percent of the state’s population. Add Greensboro, High Point, Winston-Salem and Wilmington and the total comes up to almost one-third. According to Rob Christenson of the Raleigh News and Observer, eight House districts have gained 40 percent in population in the past five years. With over nine million people and growing, North Carolina is expected to pick up another congressional seat in 2021. Look for more legislation that has wealthier counties subsidizing poorer rural counties. Redistribution of the sales tax approved earlier this year may be a forecast of future bills.
The holiday season arrives next week with Thanksgiving, a favorite American holiday with emphasis on seats at the table, feast for the eyes and stomach, and…football and hunting. We are thankful for the special people that are the backbone of the textiles and hosiery communities.
A Happy Thanksgiving to all.