Lew Ebert, president of the N.C. Chamber, expressed his displeasure with the state legislature during a recent civic group luncheon speech in Sanford where the crowd, unfortunately for Ebert, included a lawmaker.
Ebert told the crowd that the legislature not only wasn’t helping business owners, but was hurting them, according to the Sanford Herald:
They’re all about job creation; they’re just not real enamored with the job creators. In my lifetime, I have never seen more potential harm that could be done to business and to the creation of potential jobs.
Rep. Jimmy Love, of Sanford and a member of the Democratic majority was in the audience, Mark Johnson reports. He said Ebert was mistaken and said Ebert criticized a statewide sales tax increase at the same time that many people in the audience were pushing a local sales tax increase referendum to pay for renovating a high school.
"He just sort of trashed us as to what we were doing or not doing," Love said this week, "and urged people to run against us."
The Herald story did not quote Ebert as encouraging anyone to challenge incumbent lawmakers but the article did say:
Ebert said the state chamber will be proactive in making sure state legislators don’t hurt business owners and in identifying the pro-business candidates during state elections.
Ebert sent a statement to Dome this week saying that the chamber’s goal is to be positive and proactive in dealing with elected officials and that the group will continue to talk about issues that are important to North Carolina employers in helping them grow the economy.
"I frequently speak to different groups and individuals all across the state about this subject on an ongoing basis," Ebert said in the statement. "If my comments in Sanford didn’t come across as positive and proactive, I really regret that."