Archive for November, 2015

A BOTTOM LINE BREAK FOR BUSINESS

Rep. Dale Folwell

Dale Folwell

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

Pete Glidewell

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.

ENJOY! ENJOY!

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.

MARK YOUR 2016 CALENDAR

The 2016 Hosiery and Textiles Day at the Legislature will be Wednesday, May 11. The day again will begin with our traditional breakfast in the Legislative Cafeteria with National Spinning Co. as host. Legislators will be guests, with members of the Hosiery and Textiles Governmental Affairs Council the reception committee. A special state-of-the industry program will feature Patti Bates of Glen Raven Mills Darrell Frye, chairman of the council.

Again, the day will include meetings with key legislative leaders, including appropriations chairs. The agenda will include single-factor tax formula for manufacturers and removal of the privilege tax on machinery. Appropriations for the Textile Technology Center and the Manufacturing Solutions Center also will be included.

More details will be included in TRENDS and special communications. This event has been critical in the ongoing state support for the centers.

MEMBERSHIPS KEEP US GOING

For over 25 years, our industries have maintained a presence in the North Carolina General Assembly. Initially, the lobbying program was sponsored by the Carolina Hosiery Association. Today, the costs are covered by council memberships and sponsorships. Our work with legislators over the years has enabled the MSC and Textile Technology Center to increase their grass roots services to manufacturers and their customers.

We have started our 2016 campaign as this year the election season starts in December with filing for candidates. As we have mentioned, there will be significant turnover in the next session with resignations and decisions not to seek re-election.

Politics is not an easy game. But we have thick skin and a passion for our manufacturers. We need your membership now.

LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE

Currently, the focus is on the Presidential Forums/Debates, especially featuring Republican hopefuls. And if we listen carefully, we might spot a hopeful trend. Several of the candidates are pushing for the “return” of manufacturing. Donald Trump may be the most vocal but he is not alone. The debates will have an influence on future politics as they pertain to tax reform, immigration and workforce reform, minimum wages, and international trade, among many other issues.

The North Carolina legislature goes into session April 28, 2016 after a tumultuous primary and new candidates. All this will set the mood for next year’s legislative agenda. At last week’s annual meeting for North Carolina professional lobbyists, Rep. Jason Saine, senior House finance chairman, and Sen. Harry Brown, senior Senate Appropriations Chair, predicted the spring session will be short and lively. Both said a July 4 adjournment is likely. More pay for public school teachers is deemed a priority.