Popular business says NC tax climate plays big role in expansion

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The business is just about as fresh to Greensboro as its pastries. Duck Donuts opened up shop on Pisgah Church Road last week, and has already seen a lot of business.

Rebecca Johnson owns the Outer Banks-based business with her husband. The two have already opened up shops in Virginia Beach and Charlottesville, and now the Triad is their new hub.

Johnson says a big reason for expanding in North Carolina is a streamlined process for setting up shop. Having to only obtain a license from the state instead of also going to the city or county helps.

“The tax rate overall is fairly good as opposed to Virginia,” Johnson said. “We only have to pay a state tax as opposed to a county tax or a food tax locally.”

She also points out those rates helped her expand but also helps her give back to the 50-plus employees in her Greensboro shop.

“Putting money back in our pockets allows me to pay employees more,” Johnson said.

She says she pays above minimum wage and even has some salaried employees. Duck Donuts plans to open shops in High Point and Winston-Salem as well, adding roughly 100 jobs to our area.

“We have taxes that are lower and competitive than they were a few years ago and that’s attracting businesses to North Carolina,” said Republican Representative Jon Hardister from Greensboro.

Hardister says reforming the tax code plays a big role in bringing in more business. According to the Tax Foundation, North Carolina ranks 11th in the country in its latest state business tax climate index.

The Huffington Post ranked North Carolina 10th in fastest growing economies as does the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Hardister doesn’t expect many major changes for tax reform this session, but rather maintaining what they’ve already set up.

“When it comes to reforming the tax code, you don’t want to do too much too quickly,” he said. “We’re going to look at regulations, that’s something we always want to look at.”

Hardister says over the past five years, lawmakers have turned a budget deficit into a robust budget surplus, created more than 400,000 new jobs, and have cut or reformed anywhere between 500 and 600 regulations.

“We have to be making sure that consumers are protected,” said Democratic Representative Cecil Brockman out of Greensboro.

General Assembly Democrats want to make sure rolling back regulations won’t hurt consumers, and keep corporations accountable.

In terms of economic growth, Brockman says the state could be doing much better if it weren’t for one controversial law.

“One thing we have to do and must address is the elephant in the room for North Carolina, which is HB2,” Brockman said.

Democratic senators introduced a clean repeal bill Wednesday, but Hardister believes it likely won’t pass.

“Members of both parties are discussing House Bill 2 to determine what kind of compromise we could put in place,” he said.

Representative Hardister went on to say there is bipartisan support to repeal HB2 because of economic interests and a desire to end boycotts of the state.

He says non-discrimination reform is a complicated issue that will be tackled and discussed by the legislature in the coming weeks.