By putting partisanship aside, North Carolina ranks No. 1 in America’s Top States for Business, with the nation’s strongest economy
Powered by an economy that has hit its stride, and turbocharged by a long track record of innovation, North Carolina is America’s Top State for Business in 2022.
The Tar Heel State has always been a contender in CNBC’s annual competitiveness rankings, rarely finishing outside the top 10 since the study began in 2007. The state finished a close second last year. But 2022 is the first year it has been able to climb to the top.
What made the difference this year? For one thing, state leaders keep managing to put aside their very deep political divisions to boost business and the economy.
When Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper signed a deal in March with Vietnamese electric vehicle manufacturer VinFast to build a $2 billion factory in the state, State Senate President Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore, both Republicans, were close at hand.
The three had worked together, across party lines, to craft a $1.2 billion incentive package sealing the deal.
“VinFast’s commitment to North Carolina solidifies our position as a global leader for fostering innovation and supporting businesses,” Berger said that day.
It was not the first time the trio had worked together to craft a transformative deal. Last year, Apple announced it would build its first East Coast hub in the state’s Research Triangle region in exchange for as much as $846 million in incentives.
“This is what happens when we work together. This is what happens when people with different viewpoints, different thought processes, come together,” Moore said at the event announcing that deal in April 2021.
“We had a tough election in 2020,” Cooper said that day. “They tried to get rid of me, I tried to get rid of them. We ended up the same way we were.
And I think we looked at each other and said, ‘This is what the people of North Carolina have voted for. We’ve got to work together to get positive outcomes for our state.’”
Sure enough, last fall, Cooper and the General Assembly finally came together to pass a two-year state budget — the first comprehensive spending plan since Cooper took office in 2017.