2021 Advocacy & Legislative Agenda
Complementing the Chamber’s Strategic Plan, the Public Policy Agenda aims to enhance the Chamber’s standing as the voice of business, its positive influence politically and with public policy/advocacy efforts. The Public Policy Agenda supports the Chamber’s vision statement: We position our community for prosperity by cultivating business growth.
Sustaining Business Growth
- Support existing economic development policies and incentives to attract and retain business in North Carolina (State, Local).
- Support efforts to develop economic development policies to encourage entrepreneurial and small business growth (State, Local).
- Encourage local governments to make public policy choices that support jobs, existing business, and prospective investment. (Local)
- Encourage continued COVID-19 relief at the federal and state level and clear reporting requirements for prior initiatives like CARES Act Funds, PPP, and EIDL (Federal, State).
- Support state efforts to align tax policy with federal changes to provide businesses with clear rules for paying taxes on PPP loans.
- Advocate for business as federal, state, and local officials devise strategies to emerge from the pandemic and distribute the vaccine. (Federal, State, Local)
- Ensure Business Interruption Insurance and Gap Insurance policies cover claims related to COVID-19 (State, Federal)
- Support efforts to remediate and improve access to Unemployment Insurance benefits while ensuring the program’s financial stability (Federal, State)
- Encourage efforts to provide tax credits or incentives to manufacturers and industry-changing production to meet public health and safety needs to address COVID-19 (Federal, State)
- Support continued capitalization of infrastructure enhancements (I-140, Port of Wilmington, 421 corridor) to support new jobs and enhance existing businesses, including the film industry and other opportunities thriving in the region. (State, Local)
- Support a federal policy that prohibits unlawful employment discrimination. (Federal)
Quality of Place
- Support the completion of the partnership between New Hanover County, NHRMC, and Novant Health as they enhance the future of health care in our region (Local).
- Support the transformational work of the newly formed Community Endowment (Local)
- Monitor the rulemaking regarding the 2020 Census to ensure Brunswick County is returned to the Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Area. (Federal, State, Local)
- Support the enhancement of economic development initiatives through the African American Business Council, Latin American Business Council, and other business affinity groups including leveling the playing field for minority-owned businesses to obtain government contracts. (State, Local)
- Advocate for opportunities supporting transformational redevelopment which creates a quality of place and offers a choice for places to live. (Local)
- Support the development of comprehensive public/private strategies and a variety of tools that can be used alone or in combination to reduce costs, boost supply and empower aspiring home buyers and other housing options. (Local)
- Utilize takeaways from InterCity Visits to ensure a focus on economic development and quality of life in the ongoing Wilmington development ordinance drafting process. (Local)
Education & Workforce Development
- Support programs that increase early literacy for all children, ensuring a strong talent pipeline for future economic growth and sustainability of North Carolina. (State, Local)
- Enhance critical education infrastructure at all three levels by supporting our local schools as well as the strategic plans of CFCC, the UNC System, and UNCW. (State, Local)
- As COVID19 changes the education landscape, monitor school system performance and the potential impact on student’s success in the classroom and our community. (State, Local)
- Support the legislative request for UNCW and the UNC System, including funding for enrollment growth, appropriate compensation for faculty and staff, capital needs (including repairs and renovations and Randall Library expansion), and operating needs/building reserves (State)
- Support regional workforce development initiatives that build diverse talent and is inclusive of groups of people that have been traditionally disenfranchised such as minority populations, the formerly incarcerated, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, etc. (State, Local)
- Prioritize investment in workforce training and upskilling programs to prepare workers impacted by COVID-19 job loss to transition to new careers and available, in-demand jobs (State, Local)
Transportation & Infrastructure
- Join with the 2030 Transportation Coalition and Regional Transportation Advocacy Group to encourage the North Carolina Department of Transportation, North Carolina General Assembly, and Governor of North Carolina to explore and implement new funding mechanisms that could raise the funds necessary to accelerate much needed transportation projects. (State, Local)
- Ensure investments are made in our transportation infrastructure (airport, highways, port) to replace the lost gas tax and other, transportation revenues. (Federal, State, Local)
- Support NC Ports Wilmington Harbor Improvement Project including ensuring federal and state passage and funding. (Federal, State, Local)
- Support legislative action to reduce carbon emissions, modernize the grid, and keep energy prices as affordable as possible. (State)
- Support the acceleration of the Wilmington Urban Area MPO’s top priorities for projects currently funded in the adopted 2020-2029 State/MPO Transportation Improvement Programs. The Board’s transportation priorities are as follows: Hampstead Bypass (R-3300), Military Cutoff Road/Eastwood Road Interchange (U-5710), Independence Boulevard Extension (U-4434), Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway/Kerr Avenue Interchange (U-3338C), Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway/Market Street/Eastwood Road Interchange (U-4902C).
- Support the MPO Board’s identification of the replacement of the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge as their highest unfunded priority and rail realignment as an additional priority. (State, Local)
- Support critical coastal infrastructure by encouraging continued Congressional support as well as requesting the North Carolina General Assembly to provide reliable, annually, recurring, long-term funding for the Coastal Storm Damage Mitigation Fund. (Federal, State)
- Promote the region as it continues to recover from hurricanes and continue to support ongoing Hurricane Florence recovery funding initiatives. Streamline resilience initiatives to prepare our infrastructure, businesses and community for the next major storm (Federal, State, Local)
- Support commercial and general aviation through encouraging recurring funding to airports for infrastructure projects and permanently enacting a competitive jet fuel tax regime. (State)
- Utilize the Water Resources Task Force to discuss and strategize on water supply issues. Monitor potential impacts of unregulated contaminants on public water supply, new growth, and existing regional businesses. (Federal, State, Local)
- Encourage NC DOT to conduct a corridor study of the I-74/US-74 corridor with the end goal of changing its terminus to Wilmington. (State, Local)