Building a Business-Friendly Union County: The Chamber’s Public Policy Committee in Action

February 5, 2024

Union County Chamber Public Policy Committee

At the annual State of YOUR Chamber in January of 2024, we shared an update on YOUR Chamber’s efforts to champion business growth and business prosperity throughout Union County.

This is part 3 of a 5-part series that included The State of YOUR Chamber is Strong, and Building Tomorrow’s Workforce: The Impact of YOUR Chamber’s Workforce Development Task Force. This article will highlight the efforts and successes of the Public Policy Committee.

The Union County Chamber is a non-partisan business organization. One of our most important efforts is to advocate for business-friendly policies. The focus of the Public Policy Committee is not politics, but rather policy matters affecting business and industry in our community. 

Each month this committee meets with policy makers and leading experts in various fields to develop a clear understanding of issues impacting our business community.  Members listen to opposing perspectives, gather data, and then develop recommendations to present to the Chamber’s Board of Directors.

The Public Policy Committee develops the Chamber’s Legislative Agenda, presents it to the Board’s Executive Committee for an initial review, and then to the full Board of Directors for their review and final approval.  This is an intentional and well thought-out process to ensure the final Agenda accurately reflects the needs of business.

Highlights of 2023:

    • » PPC completed the 2023 Legislative Agenda and presented it to the Board of Directors, who approved it in January 2023. The Chamber presented the Agenda to policymakers and members on February 3, 2023, at the Chamber’s Legislative Agenda Breakfast.  This event included round table discussions among business leaders and policy makers discussing ways we can work together.
    • » The Chamber hosted its annual Elected Officials Reception. This annual event provides Chamber members the opportunity to connect with policymakers at the local, state, and federal levels in a casual setting.
    • » The Chamber hosted three additional Public Policy Events:
        • » In May the Chamber discussed childcare issues and their impact on our workforce.
        • » In September, the Chamber hosted an Education Summit featuring the leaders of our three largest educational institutions.
        • » In November, the Chamber hosted a panel discussion featuring members of the Union County delegation.

Recent Public Policy Successes:

      • » Union County is one of the fastest-growing counties in the southeast and does not have a source within its boundaries to provide drinking water. For decades, Union County has sourced as much as 80% of its water supply from the Catawba River Water Supply Project, a joint venture between Union County and Lancaster County.
        A second long-term source of water is critical to meet the needs of our growing community.  After years of studies, planning, and construction, the County completed the $300 million Yadkin Water Project last year.  This project ensures the County has a second long-term, sustainable water source.  This Chamber has supported the Yadkin Water Project and has issued multiple resolutions and letters of support over the years to encourage its completion. We applaud the County’s vision for securing a sustainable second water source to meet the current and future needs of our community, and their collaborative leadership in completing this ambitious project.
      • » In 2023, the Chamber maintained its focus on infrastructure by issuing a resolution encouraging policymakers to seek collaborative solutions to the wastewater treatment needs of our County. The long-term consistent growth of our County has placed stress on the wastewater infrastructure resulting in a need to focus on ways to make the system more efficient, expand capacity in the Catawba basin, and create a long-range plan to expand capacity and replace an aged system in the Yadkin basin.
        The Chamber hosted meetings with members of our Raleigh Delegation, members of our County Commission, officials from several local municipalities to discuss concerns and possible solutions.
        The County recently approved a 1.5 million gallon per day expansion to the Twelve Mile Creek treatment facility from 7.5 million gallons to 9 million gallons.  This project received approval to begin the bid process last December.  It will take approximately two years to complete the expansion.
        The General Assembly appropriated $26 million for wastewater treatment expansion, as well as $1.5 million for the Waxhaw Greywater System Project.  We appreciate the efforts of our Delegation to lead efforts to meet the needs of our community.
      • » One of the Chamber’s policy positions is support of policies that remove barriers to work which include efforts to make childcare more accessible and affordable for parents who work. The Public Policy Committee met with Linda Smith, Executive Director of Alliance for Children, our local Smart Start partnership, to learn more and then hosted an event to share information with our membership.
        The Chamber supported legislation to create a childcare pilot program called Tri-Share, which was co-authored by Representative David Willis.  This legislation passed last fall and now provides funding for a pilot program to include three regional hubs to create and implement a public-private cost-share program to make high-quality childcare affordable and accessible for working families, help employers retain and attract employees, and help stabilize childcare businesses.
      • »The state budget includes a new franchise tax structure that is a step in the right direction of the Legislative Agenda’s stance on eliminating the franchise tax.  The Chamber supports efforts by the North Carolina General Assembly to eliminate corporate and business income taxes, including the franchise tax.

Looking ahead to 2024, the Public Policy Committee recently finalized the 2024 Legislative Agenda.  This document was approved by the Board, and released at the Legislative Agenda Breakfast in February.

Last modified: February 21, 2024

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