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Decker promises new approach at Commerce

Posted March 12, 2013

New Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker told the Senate Commerce Committee Tuesday that she plans to look "broadly and freshly" at how the state recruits new businesses.

Decker told lawmakers the state needs to refocus its brand through proactive recruiting and a new public-private partnership.

She said specifics will be coming out in the next few weeks about "PPPP" – "the Public-Private Partnership for Prosperity."  She offered few details about the proposal, except to say that it will be "more nimble" than government and able "to engage a lot more private dollars in the process." Its focus will be on international investment.

Decker likened the current state of North Carolina's economy to the 1950s. "It was a time to reshape who we were economically," she said. "We can't find success doing things the same way."

When it comes to economic development, she said, the spotlight is often on the state's urban centers. But she said living in Rutherford County for more than a decade has helped her recognize that North Carolina is truly a state of small, rural communities, and that's where economic development is most needed. 

"We have a plethora of resources, of talent, of business in North Carolina. Our challenge is to go back to our roots and use what we have," she said.

Questioned about the use of incentives, Decker told the committee they're only part of the "arsenal of tools" but are still necessary to compete with other states.

"If everyone else is going to pick up their toys, then I'll pick up my toys," she said. "But that ain't gonna happen, guys, so I've still got to have a quiver full of arrows."

A report released Monday by the General Assembly's Fiscal Research Division shows the state spent almost $1.4 billion on economic development last year. Nearly $1.3 billion – all but 8 percent – went to pay for tax incentives.

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  • charlottereynolds2 Mar 13, 2013

    I think they need to concentrate on getting State employees raises. I know some that have not had an increase in almost 9 years. .5% is not going to do it. Bring the State up to the pay that the private sector makes. No one ever mentions the State employees that I know that have to work two/three jobs, in addition to their State jobs, ever seeing a raise on the horizon.

  • Wacky_dood Mar 12, 2013

    "She said specifics will be coming out in the next few weeks about "PPPP" - "the Public-Private Partnership for Prosperity." She offered few details about the proposal, except to say that it will be "more nimble" than government, able "to engage a lot more private dollars in the process." Its focus will be on international investment."

    Two months in office and this is what we get--PPPP and a restatement of the obvious? I can see why McCrory gave her a raise...

  • computer trainer Mar 12, 2013

    Ceanothus- the UE does ask for Job Title, which is the occupation.

    She needs to FIX the ESC. They are so messed up. And they have no leadership, not that the 3 under bev were any good, but the last from bev left sometime in dec and the other one was removed from the building the first of feb. since then they have had no leadershoip. they have some ue director Keith something and he is useless. all you ever hear is about how they are goin to fix thangs but nothing ever happens.

    Put up ore shut up

  • unc70 Mar 12, 2013

    The way NC repositioned its economy from the 1950's was by spending on public education and reducing poverty with programs like the NC Fund. The current admin seems focused on the opposite.

  • Terkel Mar 12, 2013

    For starters, you can add an "Occupation" to the application for UE benefits, then capture the info. Now of course that means that business won't be able to say there are no qualified Americans, so it will be hard to justify cheap offshore non-talent or illegals when anyone can click a link and see how many UE of each profession live in each county. IOW,this will be good for the citizens of the State.

  • Cock a doodle doo Mar 12, 2013

    I guess funneling discussion to the attorney office Governor McCrory was being paid by (notice I didn't say work -since he nor they will tell us what his job was)and letting them come to NC tax free isn't a good enough approach?

  • baldchip Mar 12, 2013

    Carry on!!! Sounds like a reasonable approach!!