Lower taxes and education reform will be part of the changes that keep North Carolina competitive in years to come, Gov. Pat McCrory told an audience of about 600 people during his closing keynote speech at CED’s Tech Venture Conference in Raleigh.

McCrory explained tax cuts approved under his watch that will see income taxes cut from 7.75 percent to 5.75 percent by 2015. Those tax cuts would help businesses by keeping more money in entrepreneurs’ pockets.

“We want to reward capital gains, not punish capital gains,” McCrory said.

McCrory also made his pitch for education reform, saying that without an educated workforce, new businesses won’t come and existing businesses would leave. But he said that educators at all levels must work with the business community so that schools and universities produce students with the skills that businesses are looking for. He added that education reform will require looking for ways to change traditional educational practices. Technology will be a big part of that reform as smartphones and tablets bring new ways of teaching into school classrooms.

McCrory’s comments preceded CED’s recognition of seven North Carolina companies that successfully executed initial public stock offerings this year. McCrory returned to the stage to offer his personal congratulations to representatives from ChannelAdvisor Corporation (NASDAQ:ECOM); Chimerix (NASDAQ:CMRX); Heat Biologics (NASDAQ:HTBX); Ply Gem Holdings (NYSE:PGEM); Quintiles (NYSE:Q); and Stock Building Supply Holdings (NASDAQ:STCK).