Lake Norman Chamber President’s eBrief Newsletter Feb 8, 2013

comp Vert logo colorChamber members and stakeholders

 Join us this Tuesday, Feb 12th  3:30 -5:00 pm for Chamber U

 Ready to grow your business in 2013? Now is the time to develop and implement a marketing strategy to take your business to new heights through “Chamber U”.

Join us this Tuesday, Feb 12th for “Chamber U” and learn how to develop and implement a strategic marketing plan to drive your business growth in the new year. During this interactive 90 minute session, you will learn how to clearly identify primary and secondary target audiences, set marketing objectives, develop a strategic marketing plan, implement tracking initiatives, and create a budget for plan implementation. Get ready to put your best marketing into action after you leave this dynamic marketing presentation.

Susan Larkin, Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations for Allen Tate Company will be the presenter.  The program is held in the Randy Marion Board Room at the Chamber.  There is no cost for Chamber members.

Deadline to Register for 2013 Business Expo Approaching

The 2013 Lake Norman Chamber Business Expo is scheduled for Friday, March 8th at Davidson College Belk Arena.   We are still registering booths for the event.  A standard booth is $250. A booth with electricity is $300.  Expo registration forms can be found on the Chamber website or you can contact the Chamber at 704-892-1922.  If you want more information on general booth registrations, or want to help on the Expo committee – contact Bill Russell at  russell@lakenorman.org.  As the Expo is expected to sell out, businesses are encouraged to contact the Chamber as soon as possible to reserve your booth.

An orientation for exhibitors for those businesses participating in the Expo will be held Friday, February 15th from 8:30 am until 10:00 am at the Cornelius Town Hall Community Room.  Chamber staff will review the Frequently Asked Questions including when businesses can move into the Belk Arena, Marketing Plans, Planned Seminars and Special Events, and other information.

February Focus Friday Examines HOT Lanes

February 22, 8:30 – 10:00 am

A great deal has been written in the last few weeks regarding the potential widening of I-77.  The current plan would utilize HOT Lanes sometimes referred to as managed lanes while a group called Widen I-77 argues that toll lanes should be avoided in favor of general purpose lanes.  On Friday, February 22nd at 8:30-10:00 am we will hear from Bill Thunberg the Executive Director of the Lake Norman Transportation Commission along with Kurt Naas who leads the group Widen I-77.  We also expect to have a representative of the NC Department of Transportation to share how the managed lanes and P3 Partnership would work.

Focus Friday is sponsored by DavidsonNews.net and CorneliusNews.net and takes place at the Chamber in the Randy Marion Board Room

The January Focus Friday examined the impact of Healthcare on taxes and small business.  We also had a presentation on Unemployment Insurance.  The program was presented by Kenny Colbert (president) and Cathy Graham, SPHR the Director of Benefit Services of the Employers Association.

Chamber members can download the Unemployment Insurance information from the Chamber’s website at: https://www.lakenormanchamber.org/images/PDFs/Unemployment%20Insurance.pdf

And the healthcare portion of the program at: https://www.lakenormanchamber.org/images/PDFs/Health%20Care.pdf

Unemployment Insurance

The unemployment insurance debate has been playing out for many months as the North Carolina business community works to advocate for repair of a broke and broken system that owes $2.6 billion to the federal government. This past week is when the rubber meets the road as legislators vote on House Bill 4: UI Solvency and Program Changes, which will shift the focus from unemployment to reemployment and put in place a plan to repay the debt within three years. Tuesday, the bill passed through the House with a bi-partisan vote of 77-42 and it will now be heard in the Senate.

Neither the tax rates nor the benefit structure single-handedly led to the debt crisis and, similarly, fixing just one of these factors is not a viable solution to creating a solvent and effective UI system for the future. In order to fix this problem, everyone will have to share in the pain.

The responsibility to repay this debt falls squarely on N.C. employers, as they are the only taxpayers paying into the fund. Employees do not pay UI taxes. Under current federal guidelines, and given the state’s outstanding loan balance, N.C. employers will repay approximately $2.4 billion in principal and more than $500 million in interest from 2011 to 2019 to extinguish the state’s loan.

This translates into a tax increase on every job from $63 to $84 per employee, and will continue to rise annually until the debt is paid. Making N.C. jobs cost more, especially at a time our unemployment rate is higher than the national average, is certainly not an ideal solution for this serious problem. It is a necessary part of the solution. Regrettably, benefits to employees will have to be.

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