Charlotte Business Leaders Want New Congress to Tackle Tax Reform, Regulations

by Jonathan McFadden

Source: Charlotte Observer

On Tuesday night, Republicans won control of both chambers of Congress. So what will the win mean for Charlotte businesses and the local economy?

Some business leaders are looking for movement on thorny issues such as tax reform and a long-delayed immigration overhaul. But experts warned Wednesday that any changes that come out of Washington might be more incremental.

Former Nucor CEO Dan DiMicco also urged both parties to work together if they want to successfully jump-start an economy that he says still needs work.

“Whether they can find a way to work together will determine how effective they’re going to be in getting the economy going, supporting manufacturing and creating jobs,” said DiMicco, who stepped down as the Charlotte-based steel-maker’s chairman last year.

Here’s a further look at what Tuesday’s vote could mean for the Charlotte economy and some of its key sectors.


The new Congress is not likely to find much common ground on hot-button subjects such as the Keystone XL pipeline or the Environmental Protection Agency’s carbon limits on power plants, Duke University’s Jonas Monast said.

“Much of the next two years is likely to be characterized more by political posturing than actual legislation” on those issues, he said.

But Monast, who leads the climate and energy program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, said some pressing energy issues show promise for bipartisan agreement. Among them are expanding terminals to ship liquefied natural gas, national energy codes for residential and commercial buildings and legislation to encourage pipeline development.

In a report Wednesday, Hugh Wynne, a Sanford C. Bernstein analyst, said he expects Republicans to attack the EPA’s carbon limits on power plants that were announced in June but doesn’t expect the effort to be successful unless the party also captures the White House.

Senate Republicans are still short of the two-thirds majority needed to override vetoes by the president. But Wynne says Republicans might be able to wrangle concessions – on compliance deadlines, for example.

The National Center for Policy Analysis, a conservative think tank, says Senate Republicans gained enough seats to potentially push through the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline, which would send oil from Canada to U.S. refineries. Bruce Henderson