Pat McCrory’s North Carolina Competes Act is undergoing a fight for its life in the General Assembly’s lower chamber. The House deep-sixed a request from the governor last session for $20 million to pass out to economic development prospects. Apparently, Gov. Pat is doubling down and trying again this session.
According to my Jones Street sources, this column by John Locke’s Becki Gray has plenty of tongues wagging and is causing plenty of folks to run like hell from HB 117. In fact, it got cited by moderate legislator Rick Catlin (R-Wilmington) — who many thought would be a slam-dunk vote FOR this — in his statement of opposition:
To all colleagues,
Out of respect I wanted to let you know that I can not support the Incentive HB 117. The article below from Becki Gray explains my concerns better than I can type this early in the morning.
Also out of respect to our senior citizens who have lost their medical deductions I am obligated to find funding for our loyal citizens paying their own medical costs, (HB 46) before I can support bribes to disloyal corporations.
I understand what the supporters of this bill hope to accomplish, but it’s OK for us not to all agree. I very much respect all we are trying to do and each of us have to do what we believe is right.
This apparently led to a big gun — in the form of House Appropriations Committee chairman Nelson Dollar (R-Wake) — being hauled out into the discussion:
This is a very interesting and compelling debate that every state legislature wrestles with. For the purpose of this e-mail I will not debate the points made by Rick and Becki, but I do believe it is important for us to realize the debate on all sides seems to be missing a key element – “a Market.” As a state we can impact tax rates, regulations and infrastructure, but no business big or small and especially small businesses can be created or survive for long if there is no substantial market for their products/services. For some reason this gets lost in the debate. You have to have customers in need of the product or service in order to grow. As you know, the theory behind recruiting a major auto manufacturer is all the myriad of ancillary products & services required – the closest example is the BMW plant in upstate South Carolina with all of its spin offs, suppliers, etc.
Whether for or against incentives or somewhere in between, we do need to be able to explore and explain how doing business in North Carolina puts an enterprise in the best position to market their products and services.