New NC economic development alliance established

December 18, 2012 at 10:49 am

We’re just two weeks away from the end of the year, and still there’s no news of a deal for the “fiscal cliff” or the farm bill. The news reports that the President and the House Speaker are moving closer to an agreement. The farm bill is still being discussed as a potential piece of the fiscal cliff deal. But on both fronts, but there is still nothing concrete to report.

In North Carolina news, however, there is a new group that has been formed to address statewide economic growth and development issues. The North Carolina Communities and Business Alliance (NCCBA) will focus on the challenges faced by cities and towns in the areas of balanced growth, transportation infrastructure, water & wastewater infrastructure, education, and tax fairness. The NCCBA is governed by a Board of Directors that includes former governors, former local elected officials, members of the General Assembly, and other leaders. Notably, Keith Crisco, the state’s commerce secretary, will serve on the Board.

The NCCBA’s first Board meeting was held earlier this month. The press release issued by the NCCBA emphasizes its focus on towns:

“We recognize that our communities are major economic engines for our state,” said Alliance founding member Louis Bissette Jr, former mayor of Asheville and former president of the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce. “If they are thriving, North Carolina’s economy is also strong and healthy.”

Its mission statement says that it will partner with the state to develop strategies that will allow both businesses and communities to grow and prosper. If it stays true to its mission and keeps the focus on both businesses and communities, the NCCBA could do much to improve the economic conditions of many parts of our state that continue to face significant challenges.

The NCCBA has stated that its initial focus will be to share and learn from various stakeholders. In this effort, it should make sure to meet with those organizations and businesses that serve the most distressed and underserved areas of the state. Without a focus on uplifting those areas that are most in need, the state’s overall economic recovery will continue to lag. There are many groups– non-profits, service providers, financial institutions, businesses– that work on the ground to create economic growth and opportunity at the local level. It’s important that any strategic effort to bring stakeholders together for the greater good of our cities, towns, and communities incorporate these voices.

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Entry filed under: Economic Development, Economy, Jobs & Employment, Transportation. Tags: , , , , , .

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