The technology industry has bolstered the North Carolina economy for years and shows no signs of slowing down.

As mayor of Rocky Mount and CEO of a regional healthcare company, I understand the impact that regulations handed down from Washington, DC, can have on small businesses.

In a city like mine, small business is the lifeline of our local economy. Mom-and-pop shops populate every corner, and the rise of online platforms and new technologies have accelerated and sustained growth, providing opportunities for customers and business owners alike. That is why I write today — I am greatly concerned about the recent attitudes of agency regulators to crack down on large technology companies that support small businesses, not just in my city, but across the country.

North Carolina is keenly aware of the impact that technology companies can have on a local economy. The industry employs more than 310,000 people in our state, representing 21% of the workforce.

Additionally, according to the NC State of Technology 2024 Industry Report, the industry has a 3.07 employment multiplier. That means for every job in the tech industry, there are two others supported throughout the state economy, in all industries. Tech jobs also account for $79 billion in wages, accounting for 24% of the state’s total earnings.

Given the massive investment in our state and its people, I am deeply troubled by what is happening at the Federal Trade Commission, and in Joe Biden’s White House. President Biden and the Federal Trade Commission have focused their crosshairs on the tech industry. It’s important to understand that these anti-tech, anti-business attacks could have a serious impact on our state’s economy and Americans everywhere.

The liberals in Washington claim these companies have gotten too large and wield too much power, so they are following the lead of governments in Europe and trying to penalize and break up these companies for excelling at what they do. They say their goals are to level the playing field for all businesses, to break up “monopolies,” and protect consumers.

But have they even considered the industry’s benefits provided to consumers? Aside from retail, where the pros are obvious, technology is baked into every major industry — healthcare, finance, computing, security, national defense — you name it, and chances are better than not that the creations and innovations of some of these businesses enable companies in these industries to operate effectively and efficiently.

The fact of the matter is that this is a politics-driven effort, spearheaded by an agency that is being led by an ultra-progressive liberal. But the last time I checked, the FTC was not, and should not be in the business of crafting economic policy or engaging in what is essentially economic planning. This country’s economy has long been governed by free-market principles. Principles that allow companies to grow beyond their founders’ wildest dreams if they work hard and create products and services that people need and want. So why should we punish them for it?

While some of the criticisms of these companies do have merit, do we really want to give unelected bureaucrats the power to interfere in the affairs of privately held and operated companies?

This “big is bad” ideology is a call back to a bygone era when large monopolies were actually hurting consumers. That’s why Robert Bork developed the consumer welfare standard, the gold standard when it comes to guiding antitrust law.

Are consumers being negatively affected by technology companies today? It depends on who you ask, but by and large the answer is no. Almost every American uses their products, services, or platforms daily, and it enriches and makes their lives easier. At a time of record costs, inflation, high interest rates, and economic uncertainty, overturning the apple cart so that over-zealous bureaucrats can achieve their privately held goals is a terrible, anti-American idea.

If big is bad, what about a big government?

Giving more power to agencies who do not answer to voters (whose tax dollars they are spending via frivolous lawsuits) is not the answer. We need Congress and the courts to intervene to protect consumers, and promote a business environment where companies and the consumers they serve can both thrive.

More than that, we need a president who does not look to hamstring our critical industries that drive our economy and our stock market.

As a proud North Carolinian, I understand just how much these companies mean to the average American. They create high-paying jobs, support almost every industry in the country, and make getting the products you want and need simple, efficient and cost effective. Join me in supporting the technology companies that make America the envy of the world.