Governor Pat McCrory announced plans today to pursue a "Partnership for Prosperity," an effort to change the way we foster economic growth in North Carolina.
New legislation will create a separate nonprofit corporation to center economic development functions for the state. A board of directors, chaired by the governor, will oversee the Partnership and have governance of all recruitment and retention activities. The functions include small business development, entrepreneurship, international investment and import/export, along with travel & tourism.
"We are going to unleash North Carolina's economic potential with a bold new approach to recruit and retain business," said Governor McCrory. "The Partnership will allow us to grow more jobs, and better-paying jobs for North Carolina."
The new partnership will leverage existing state funds to get the private sector more involved in economic development. In the long run, fewer state dollars will be needed to run the programs currently operated by the N.C. Department of Commerce and several non-profit organizations receiving state funding.
"We have to be able to move faster, primarily in terms of job recruiting," said N.C. Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker. "Our economic development efforts must also recognize that one size does not fit all, and the economies of all communities are important to us."
Over the next 45 days, the Department of Commerce will develop a plan for the public-private partnership that includes organizational structure, budget and cost projections, as well as a timeline for implementing the reform. Bill Elmore, vice chairman of Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated, has volunteered to lead the effort in the Department's restructuring review. The group will also be meeting and seeking input from various stakeholders in the economic development process. Bipartisan legislation will be introduced this week to help shape these changes and get them in place before the end of this year.
"Our current approach to economic development often duplicates efforts, wastes state resources and lacks clear focus," said Rep. Tom Murry. "I applaud Governor McCrory for supporting the concept of a public-private partnership to address these issues."