Outlook for business in Triad rated ‘fair’

A survey of business executives in the Triad showed that a majority of respondents were lukewarm at best over business prospects, the John Locke Foundation said yesterday.

John Locke, a nonprofit research group based in Raleigh, conducted a mail survey last month that found that 58 percent of business executives in the 336 area code rated business prospects as “fair or poor.”

Chad Adams, a foundation official, presented the survey results to about 30 members of the Forsyth County chapter of Citizens for a Sound Economy at the Golden Corral Buffet & Grill on University Parkway.

In contrast, 67 percent of respondents in the 919 area code, which includes the Triangle, said they thought that growth prospects were “excellent or good.” A majority of Charlotte-area executives were also upbeat.

One possible reason for the relative lack of optimism among Triad executives could be the losses in manufacturing employment in the region, Adams said in an interview.

“The Triad area is still trying to dig out of that manufacturing bust,” Adams said.

The survey found that business executives across the state said that tax cuts would promote economic growth, Adams said. “There is strong opposition to any tax increases and support for tax reductions to foster economic growth,” Adams said in remarks to the audience.

About 4,000 questionnaires were sent out to members of N.C. Citizens for Business and Industry, the state’s chamber of commerce, with 286 responses used in the survey.

Citizens for a Sound Economy is a national activist group with 25 state chapters, including North Carolina, that advocates lower taxes and less government.

The foundation’s survey said that 61 percent of executives throughout the state thought that the best single change in the state’s tax policy would be a tax cut, while 39 percent thought tax credits and incentives would be a better way to go.

• Brian Louis can be reached at 727-7378 or at blouis@wsjournal.com