Perdue reassures business owners
By Aaron Moore
Published in News on June 13, 2010 1:50 AM
KENANSVILLE -- Gov. Beverly Perdue visited James Sprunt Community College in Kenansville Friday to meet with and to discuss the needs of small business owners in the area. She also discussed legislation brewing in the state House aimed at helping small business.
Gov. Perdue opened the meeting with an overview of the difficulties North Carolina has faced since she took office, discussing the 15 percent state government spending cut last year.
"We are really trying to do more with less," she said.
She said she has heard many complaints and concerns from Duplin County's small business owners about their struggle to stay afloat in the tumultuous economy, and she assured them she was doing all in her power to help them.
Kenneth Smith, mayor of Beulaville and a small business owner, praised the governor for her diligence at helping small businesses.
"The General Assembly doesn't understand small business," he said.
Gov. Perdue said a package of measures referred to as the "the Small Business Package," is expected to win legislative approval. It includes a health care tax credit that gives small businesses $250 for every person for whom they provide health coverage.
"It's not much, but it's better than nothing," the governor said.
The package of bills also provides a start-up tax incentive, which exempts entrepreneurs investing in new businesses from capital gains taxes, and a back-to-work incentive that gives $1,000 to businessowners for every long-term unemployed person they hire.
Despite all the complaints and concerns, the general tone of the meeting was hopeful.
"I believe when the General Assembly adjourns ... in mid-July, the strongest piece of legislation for small business in North Carolina history will have passed," the governor said.
Among other steps her administration is taking, Gov. Perdue said, is to work with the federal government to put more money into the bank loan system, although she rebuked federal officials for their policies that apply the same lending rules to small banks and international banks.
"I'm a cynic about the federal government and their one-size-fits-all policy," she said, adding that she is pushing hard for separate standards for smaller financial institutions.
When asked about other steps she is taking to bring jobs to eastern North Carolina, the governor said only that she will be attending a Global TransPark board meeting on Wednesday, and that she will hold TransPark board members accountable to aggressively pursue small business opportunities in eastern North Carolina.
She reassured the small business owners at the conference that she believes North Carolina is recovering from the poor economy at a faster rate than any other state.
"We feel like we're going to come back," she said, adding that "It's going to be a long haul."