Economy“I am committed to growing a strong local economy rooted in our mountain values.”
Susan understands that Western North Carolina needs living wage jobs that enable working families to own a home, save for retirement, and send children to college.
Susan believes that we must prioritize clean, sustainable, local, small businesses to strengthen our local economies. We need to support environmentally-friendly, locally-owned businesses that come from our own communities and are invested in this region.
Susan is also committed to attracting new industry to our region – industry that fits with our values, skills, and resources. Green technology is an exciting new frontier for Buncombe County – Susan believes that this region can and will become a hub for new green jobs based on science and technology.
Western North Carolina needs strong, experienced leadership to draw attention to our region as the perfect home for these industries. Susan knows that we have to look beyond tax incentives, and invest in our workforce. Support for our community colleges is critical in this endeavor. And we must increase coordination between community colleges and economic development authorities in order better leverage community college resources.
A proven record of working to build a strong, sustainable economy:
- Susan supported the allocation of $5 million of the funds received by North Carolina under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to the Green Business Fund, which provides grants to private businesses with less than 100 employees, non-profit organizations, and state agencies to encourage the growth of a green economy in North Carolina.
- Susan has been a strong voice for working people and economic justice. She sponsored and voted for the legislation that raised NC’s minimum wage and supports a living wage for working people in North Carolina.
- Susan believes that a strong economy is dependent on educational opportunity, and has worked hard to ensure that all North Carolinians have access to high-quality education.
- To promote affordable housing, Susan introduced and helped pass bills allocating funds to the NC Housing Trust Fund to help elderly homeowners and provide independent- and supportive-living apartments for individuals with disabilities, and introduced a bill funding legal services to prevent foreclosures. Susan was named the NC Housing Coalition Legislator of the Year for 2008, honoring her work to promote affordable housing in North Carolina.
- Susan also helped pass legislation protecting homeowners and tenants from predatory mortgage lending and abusive servicing practices.
- Susan believes that our community colleges are powerful incubators for our local economy. She has helped secure funding for community colleges to ensure that our community colleges can continue succeed in improving local economies.
- Susan helped pass the historic Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which helped to reduce the disproportionate impact of taxes on low-income people. NC’s first Earned Income Tax Credit law helps those in our state who are most need of tax relief, and is a significant step in modernizing and improving the fairness of our state’s tax code. The 3.5% credit decreases the tax burden on more than 825,000 low- and moderate-income families. The NC Justice Center estimates that in 2008 the state credit provided an estimated 845,000 working households with a total of $48 million. These savings for working families contribute to the economy as a whole as low-income families retain more of their earnings to spend in their local economies. Susan believes that any future tax relief should be targeted to low-income families.
- Susan understands that childcare must be part of any conversation about the economy. Susan helped eliminate the child care subsidy waiting list, removing over 3,000 children from waiting lists for childcare. She has supported funding for Smart Start, providing childcare for thousands of children, and implementing market rate increases for childcare.
- Susan helped increase support for businesses owned by minorities and women, securing increased funding for the North Carolina Minority Support Center and the North Carolina Institute of Minority Economic Development.
- Susan supported tax credits to small businesses for research and development and for constructing renewable fuels facilities. The General Assembly also provided tax credits that will help existing businesses grow and promote new industries, including those developing renewable energy sources.
- Susan believes that local farms are an important part of our heritage and economy in Western North Carolina. For this reason, she has worked to preserve farmland, helped fund farm to school programs, and helped established the Sustainable Local Food Policy Council, which is focused on building a local food economy and promoting sustainable farming practices.
- Susan believes that in Western North Carolina our natural environment is one of our greatest economic assets. She has supported farmland preservation funding, strong steep slope regulations, and other efforts at both local and state levels to preserve the character of our region for future generations.