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Business leaders give McCrory jobs road map

Posted January 24

The cover an economic development plan presented to Gov. Pat McCrory on Jan. 24, 2014.

— North Carolina will focus its business recruiting efforts on 38 industries as part of a new economic development plan that a group of business, political and education leaders officially turned into Gov. Pat McCrory Friday. 

"We really got an opportunity to re-look at the way we generate jobs in North Carolina," said John Lassiter, chairman of the North Carolina Economic Development Board.

The board has spent the last six months developing the plan, which amounts to a blueprint for McCrory's strategy to bolster job creation in North Carolina. 

Lassiter will also play a part in putting the plan into action. He will be a board member of a new private nonprofit corporation that was created to handle many of the job recruiting and marketing responsibilities carried out by the state Commerce Department. Richard Lindenmuth, economic development Private equity exec to lead NC Economic Development Partnership

"This is the first comprehensive plan that's been executed in over a decade," Lassiter told reporters after the meeting.

The report itself is a glossy 26-page manual full of bullet points and goals but short on directions. It will be up to the governor, the new nonprofit and the Commerce Department to follow through on the recommendations, said those who attended Friday's roll out.

"A lot of this requires rethinking of some things that will require legislation," Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker said. 

Among the legislative fixes the McCrory administration will ask for are tweaks to the state's incentive funds. In particular, the report suggests expanding the One North Carolina Fund, a pot of incentives money that was available to use at the governor's discretion. Lawmakers and even some economic developers have been skeptical of how it was used in the past, but Decker said the state needed some sort of "closing fund" that could help complete high-value deals. 

McCrory has said that he would not use or ask for large upfront cash incentives that are features of other states' development plans. Decker said the expanded One North Carolina Fund would not be designed to compete with other states' cash grants. Rather, she said, it could provide funding for things like clearing an industrial site so a new business could build there.

The report also specifically mentions the state's film incentives program. North Carolina's current tax credit for film makers and television productions expires at the end of the year. 

"(A) new demand driven tax incentive model need to be developed that focuses on positive return on investments," the report reads.

Neither Decker nor Lassiter could say what exactly the new program would look like or how it would differ from the existing tax credit, which gives a refund for a portion of the sales tax a production spends in North Carolina. North Carolina Jobs Plan Cover North Carolina Jobs Plan 2014-2024

"We don't just want to be a location for filming," Lassiter said.

Currently, he said, too many productions come into the state, make their movie and leave. Any incentive program, he said, should encourage film makers and television productions to be based here.

"How do we do the kinds of things that cause long-playing series, long-scaled TV contracts, post-production activities (and) sound stages that employ people long term?" he said. "We want people taking up mortgages."

Much of the document released Friday constitutes a broad-brush treatment of the state's economic strengths and weaknesses, with details to be filled in later by the Commerce Department, the new economic development nonprofit and others. However, the document does lay out how the state should refocus its educational and job recruitment efforts. 

For example, the report says North Carolina should focus more educational resources in areas that employers say are in high demand. It points to science, technology, engineering and math education generally and specific focus areas that include information technology, health science, transportation and logistics, agriculture and food science and architecture, engineering and construction. 

The committee lays out 38 industries in 10 "clusters" in which the state should concentrate its job recruiting efforts. For example, the manufacturing cluster includes old standbys like furniture and textiles as well as chemicals, plastics, metals and automotive sectors. Under energy production, the committee calls for recruiting those businesses dealing with "smart grid" energy efficiency projects as well as oil and gas drilling. 

"If you're not on the list, don't worry, we want you here in North Carolina," Decker said when asked about businesses not on the chart.

However, she said, the state has to concentrate its efforts. "You can't do all of it well," she explained. "When you have no priorities, it's hard to drive outcomes."

8 Comments

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  • 68_dodge_polara Jan 28, 11:26 a.m.

    See lot's of gripping here but no alternative solutions.

  • HeadsUp Jan 27, 1:14 p.m.

    Ladies and gentlemen, you may now place your bids and let the pay to play begin!

  • sixnitepkg Jan 27, 11:49 a.m.

    Big business bosses road map for N.C. - the workers work more & get paid less, so the rich bosses can work less & get paid more! decrease those awful "job killing regulations" you know, the ones that protect the lives of WORKERS who actually do something other than sit behind a desk & figure out new and inventive ways to get rich off of others labor (read your bible folks... that is a sin according to the teachings of Christ! ) fewer potential workers per job when ya' get to kill 'em off by removing life saving safety regulations - THAT will decrease the unemployment rate! BRILLIANT!!

    notice that the word "people" is NOT used here? - remember, if you're not rich you do not count in their eyes! (and at least in the slavery days a slave counted as 1/3 of a person... nowadays... you really don't count at all to the GOP!!

  • krimson Jan 27, 10:20 a.m.

    Now we know who actually "governs" the State... Good Job, McCrony!

  • Prayer starts with P Jan 27, 8:51 a.m.

    I say give the guy a map back to Charlotte. I only hope we will be able to undo the damage he has done to this great state during his 1-year tenure. Otherwise we might as well rename ourselves to "Mississippi"

  • boguesounder Jan 26, 3:25 p.m.

    instead of a phony jobs road map, they only need to abandon their ideology and take the ACA medicaid expansion - the federal government covers all the costs and it will create 20,000 job, but governor Pope says no! Is their one person in this Republican administration? Still looking.

  • boguesounder Jan 25, 10:18 p.m.

    sad, a recipe for bribery. So companies will be bribed using taxpayer money to a few favored industries as determined by the govenor, while he destroys the solar industry (10,000 jobs) , and passes on medicaid expansion (20,000 jobs) and only welcome the oil industry, with a mirage of jobs that will go mostly to norfolk, because of their deepwater port. The republicans and their camber of commerce toadies are not fit to govern a dog pound, let alone a state.

  • archmaker Jan 24, 4:39 p.m.

    well, now he has a map - let's see if he can find his way out of the paper bag.