Dems call for more incentives to boost NC economy

Posted February 3, 2015

— House Democrats on Tuesday called for a renewed commitment to providing incentives to businesses to bring jobs to North Carolina.

Rep. Rodney Moore, D-Mecklenburg, recited a litany of incentives and tax breaks that have been eliminated by the Republican-led General Assembly in recent years or are set to expire this year, including tax credits for research and development, redeveloping historic buildings, film and television productions and renewable energy production. Other incentives, such as the Job Development Investment Grant program, are underfunded, he said.

"The public seems confused as to whether or not North Carolina is open for business," said Rep. Susi Hamilton, D-New Hanover. "Not understanding what the playing field looks like, it's very difficult for the private sector to make a valid decision, and for that reason, we've seen a lot of industries turn and go to other states."

Hamilton cited the "large sucking sound" of the thousands of film and TV jobs that have left North Carolina in recent weeks after the film tax credit expired at the end of December. It has been replaced by a much smaller grant program this year.

Republican lawmakers have repeatedly said they want to make the tax code simpler by eliminating breaks that favor some over others, but Hamilton noted there are 250 tax credits written into state law, and no study has been conducted to determine which generate the most revenue for North Carolina and deserve to continue.

Instead of using incentives to bring high-paying jobs to the state, she said, North Carolina is attracting more low-wage jobs, noting the state exceeds the national average in the growth of such jobs by 11.5 percent.

"Unemployment numbers may be down in North Carolina, but the wages earned in low-wage jobs make it impossible for North Carolina families to make ends meet," she said.

Even with more people working, the Democrats said, the state doesn't find itself with the money needed to invest in education, transportation and law enforcement.

Moore said Democrats want to work with Republicans to devise an economic development strategy that would include incentives and tools such as crowd-funding, but he said Democrats would introduce their own bill in the next few weeks to get the ball rolling.

"All of these things should be included in our economic toolbox so we can really have a Carolina comeback and bring jobs and industry back to North Carolina so all of our citizens can prosper," he said.


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • RaleighNinja Feb 4, 2015

    View quoted thread

    I like this idea very much because of exactly what this person said. The film industry packed up and left faster than it took to undo all the incentives to keep them here. Let's look at this again, except this time look at how we can use this to influence long term growth in our state, which should bring better and longer lasting jobs/careers for NC citizens.

  • Maurice Pentico Jr. Feb 4, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    So your saying NC is still a good place for business?

    How about this ranking from the Tax Foundation index... where NC went from being 44th to 16th.... because of the tax changes.


  • Erik Vinson Feb 4, 2015
    user avatar

    Why does the NC economy need "boosting" if our fearless "prez" told us how wonderful; the economy is doing? Who is lying here? hmmmmm

  • Brandon White Feb 4, 2015
    user avatar

    Crony capitalism is just a mask for socialism. Sal Alinsky would be proud.

  • Danny Cole Feb 4, 2015
    user avatar

    But wait, Didn't our President just state our economy was doing so well he wanted to raise corporate taxes and on the wealthy and give taxes breaks to the middle class. If this is true then why do businesses need all these tax breaks to build in NC and give people jobs? Just another way to show liberals have no clue as to their surroundings.

  • 68_dodge_polara Feb 4, 2015

    Incentives should be given to no private businesses but if they are they should only be given to heavy industries that require large capital investments that are not easily moved our of state once the government money stops. Look how quickly the film industry was able to pick up and leave our state as soon as the incentives stopped. No more for film and television productions!

  • iopsyc Feb 4, 2015

    View quoted thread

    MEP, we've been over this before.
    Forbes consistently ranks NC in the top states for business. The most recent ranking has little to do with the recent GOP-led changes.

    Out of the last 9 years NC was ranked 3rd five times, ranked 4th three times, and had a bummer year in 2009 and ranked 5th.

  • Eq Videri Feb 4, 2015
    user avatar

    The Dems are for it? That oughta kill it dead.

  • Danny22 Feb 4, 2015

    The government is always trying to figure out how to take more tax money from the working folks and give it to the freeloaders.

  • Maurice Pentico Jr. Feb 3, 2015
    user avatar

    Incentive... corporate welfare.... call it what you will its the same.

    Forbs magazine ranked NC #3 in the US for the best States for business in 2014.
    Thanks to the GOP tax code overhaul. HOW MUCH MORE OPEN FOR BUSINESS DO WE NEED TO BE?????