McCrory talks future at 14th economic forecast forum

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – At Wednesday’s 14th Economic Forecast Forum, North Carolina executives shared their hopes of starting 2016 off strong.

“If you react to growth, you’ve waited too long. You better anticipate it. And right now North Carolina is in a phase of reacting to growth,” said Gov. Pat McCrory.

McCrory advised a room full of business leaders to forge forward and not become complacent. He spoke on the effort to push for more in education, infrastructure and technology.

“We have three to four major land sites that have potential to recruit industry, especially auto,” said McCrory.

Something McCrory said worked in 2015 that is getting 2016 off to a good start is tax reform.

“Income tax revenue is up substantially even as we reduced the income tax in North Carolina,” he said.

And something both McCrory and other leaders would like to see more of in the new year is natural gas.

“Natural gas infrastructure will allow the additional growth and propel the growth of renewables in our state. As natural gas generation provides a complimentary backup fuel for intermittent renewable energy sources,” said Thomas Skains, CEO and president of Piedmont Natural Gas.

“There’s no natural gas coming out of North Carolina. You know why? We’ve never checked. And we think there’s potential, especially in the Sandhill areas of the state, and that could bring tremendous new revenue,” said McCrory.

Leaders said North Carolina’s population is expected to grow by 20 percent in the next 15 years.

To keep the state growing strong, one million jobs need to be created by 2030.

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