On Tuesday, Gov. Pat McCrory, Speaker of the House Tim Moore, and Senate Leader Dan Blue Jr. gathered with local education and business leaders to kick off the Connect NC Bond Campaign.
North Carolina is the ninth most populated state in the U.S. Since 2000—the last time the state held a bond referendum—North Carolina has grown by more than 2 million people. McCrory emphasized the need to prepare for the future.
“Do we prepare for the future or do we want the leaders of the future to have to react for what we didn’t do?” he asked the room of more than 500 people.
On the March 15 ballot, voters will have the opportunity to support the $2 billion bond that received bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate. The bond language allows the state to pay for 50-year assets with 20-year financing, and it does not require any tax increases for residents.
The Chamber fully supports the Connect NC bond and urges residents to learn more and vote “yes” in March.
The Connect NC website breaks down how the $2 billion bond would be divided:
Education: $1 Billion
Despite the state’s extraordinary higher education system, a skills gap truly exists. In 2020, there will be 4.2 million new jobs in computing and IT in the United States. To mitigate future workforce shortages, it’s critical that we ensure our universities and community colleges have the capacity to attain the degrees and skills these jobs require.
With major investments in local community colleges and universities across North Carolina, the Connect NC bond will help produce a highly-skilled workforce for today’s—and tomorrow’s—competitive and technological world. It provides state-of-the-art science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) facilities on campuses across North Carolina.
Ann Goodnight with SAS said the bond demonstrates a commitment to improving our education system, thereby attracting talent and business to the state and allowing us to compete successfully in a global economy.
Find out more about the investment in our universities and community colleges here.
Agriculture and Family Farms: $179 Million
Agriculture is North Carolina’s largest economic driver at $76 billion dollars annually, employing more than 16 percent of our state. The Connect NC investment keeps agribusiness and family farms growing. These investments include $85 million for the NC State Plant Sciences Initiative at NC State University and $94 million for a new collocated laboratory facility for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Learn more about specific projects here.
State Parks and Zoo: $75 Million
The bond provides $75 million to build new state park facilities, hiking trails, and campgrounds, as well support environmental education. It includes funds for major expansions and renovations at the North Carolina Zoo, needed maintenance of North Carolina State Parks, and completion of the 1000-mile Mountains-to-Sea State Trail.
See which parks will benefit from the bond here.
National Guard and Public Safety: $70 million
The North Carolina National Guard is the state’s first defense and saving grace in times of natural disasters and state emergencies. The bond provides $70 million designated for building regional training centers across North Carolina that will help to keep us safe and bolster our state’s National Guard.
Water and Sewer: $300 Million
More than $300 million will go to North Carolina municipalities to modernize water and sewer systems. This will help them ensure water quality, economic competitiveness, quality of life, and preparation for the future.
Explore the details here.