(The Center Square) – A new report from the North Carolina Chamber grades lawmakers based on how they voted on bills consequential to the business community during the recent long session.
The 2023 How They Voted report released Thursday scores 14 bills in total, involving 15 House votes and 12 Senate votes.
“This session has had the most regulatory wins for manufacturers and the business community since Chamber-backed State Environmental Policy Act Reform in 2015,” Chamber CEO Gary Salamido wrote in the report.
“The NC Chamber is honored to advocate for business, especially when it involves pushing past uncertainty,” he wrote. “We’re equally honored to showcase the lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle who share these values,” he wrote. “How They Voted presents a straightforward, objective accounting of who stepped up when given the chance to support job creators at the General Assembly.”
The chamber awarded points to lawmakers who supported the organization’s pro-business positions, and graded lawmakers based on the percentage of points earned of the total possible. Scores of 80% or above earned legislators the chamber’s distinction of “Jobs Champion” for 2023.
Across the General Assembly, the average score was 77%. It was 84% in the Senate and 74% in the House. A total of 32 senators and 78 representatives were named jobs champions, including lawmakers from both parties.
Of those, all 30 Republican senators earned perfect 100% scores, while only three House Republicans scored the same: Duplin County’s Jimmy Dixon, Richmond County’s Ben Moss, and Pitt County’s Tim Reeder.
On the other end, the lowest scoring senators were all Democrats, including Natalie Murdock, of Durham County, at 30%; Greg Meyer, of Orange, at 38%; and Lisa Grafstein, of Wake, Natasha Marcus, of Mecklenburg, and Julie Mayfield, of Buncombe, all at 42%.
It’s a similar situation in the lower chamber, with Democrats Pricey Harrison, of Guilford County, rated the most anti-business at 15%; Marcia Morey, of Durham, and John Autry, of Mecklenburg, both at 21%; Julie von Haefen, of Mecklenburg, at 23%; and Deb Butler, of New Hanover, at 27%.
Sens. Kandie Smith, of Pitt County, and Mike Woodard, of Durham County, were the only two Democrats in the upper chamber to be named jobs champions.
Democratic representatives who earned the same distinction include Cecil Brockman, of Guilford County; Carla Cunningham and Nasif Majeed, of Mecklenburg; Garland Pierce, of Scotland; Shelly Willingham, of Edgecombe; and Michael Wray, of Northampton.
“The 2023 legislative session continued a trend of enacting NC Chamber-supported reforms to further strengthen North Carolina’s position as the top state for business,” according to the report.
Accolades, among others, identified in the document include America’s 2022 and 2023 Top State for Business by CNBC, 2022 State of the Year by Business Facilities Magazine, Best State for Business for three consecutive years by Forbes, top 10 in the Tax Foundation’s Business Tax Climate and top five in the foundation’s Effective, Real-World Business Tax Rates in 2021.