- Associated Press - Thursday, February 4, 2016

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina’s commerce secretary says rural and small-town economies won’t grow without access to high-speed Internet.

John Skvarla talked about the need for broadband Internet across the state Thursday while addressing a legislative committee looking at economic development ideas to consider when the General Assembly resumes in April.

Skvarla again pitched the need for “crowdfunding” legislation so small businesses can get capital to help them expand. Crowdfunding authorizes raising capital through small, individual investments.

Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration wants to use a portion of unclaimed money held by the state treasurer to invest in emerging businesses.

The committee also discussed a Commerce Department proposal to retool how the state ranks the levels of economic distress in North Carolina’s 100 counties.

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