Charlotte, Raleigh, MetLife share GROUP-HUG, we get stuck with the check

hugThe McCrory administration, this week, celebrated a $125.5 million dollar investment by MetLife into North Carolina’s economy.   The insurer will be relocating some of its operations to Cary and Charlotte, in exchange for about $94 million in state tax incentives.  THAT means they will be getting out of paying about $94 million in taxes into state coffers.  Will the state cut spending to account for that shortfall?   Of course, not.  Businesses and individuals who were already here will be picking up the slack.  Surely, this is not welcome news for taxpayers already reeling from Congress’s decision to raise tax rates in January and the legislature’s vote to raise the unemployment insurance withholding.  (I’m sure that $94 million figure does not include county and local incentives.)  Let’s not forget the state’s $3 billion debt to the federal government.  

The state commerce secretary said that an estimated 30-40 percent of the 2600 jobs MetLife is planning for North Carolina will be people transferred in  from OTHER out-of-state company operations.   To make things even more interesting, McCrory’s former law firm represented MetLife in its negotiations with the state.  (McCrory’s former campaign manager and spokesman is now the spokesman for said law firm.) 

Civitas had an interesting take on the MetLife deal:

The old Met Life insurance commercials used to feature the tag line, “Get Met, It Pays.” Yesterday came the announcement that North Carolina landed Met Life expansion projects to be located in Cary and Charlotte – but who pays?

Taxpayers, of course.

According to reports, Met Life was bribed to the tune of $94 million in state handouts along with millions more from local governments. Last night, NBC 17 ran a story on this announcement, and the segment included a few words from me. Unfortunately, TV sound bites can not capture much, so if you need a refresher on how Civitas feels about the political class doling out taxpayer dollars and privileges to select companies, check out the archived posts under the “corporate welfare” tag.

Bottom line, tax all businesses the same or -better yet – don’t tax them at all. That would be the ultimate economic incentive.