Local Politics

Legislature Ditches Veto Override, Easley Convenes Special Session

Posted September 10, 2007
Updated September 11, 2007

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— Moves toward compromise on Monday toned down a possible showdown between the Legislature and Gov. Mike Easley over his veto of a bill that sought to provide up to $40 million in state grants to Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.

Easley called a special session of the Legislature to start at 7:30 p.m. Monday to work on a new, compromise bill. He charged the session to create economic-development legislation that would "encourage and promote the maintenance of high quality jobs in existing major business and industry in distressed counties within the state," according to a statement.

State lawmakers had returned to Raleigh earlier in the day for their own special session to consider overriding Easley's veto. After political maneuvering over the weekend and into Monday, however, they appeared ready to consider coming up with a new bill in Easley's session rather than overriding his action in their own session.

"Right now, the different factions of the Democrat Party are trying to work out a deal," Rep. Paul Stam, R-Wake, said.

House members quickly went into recess Monday afternoon, and representatives from the governor's office and state House leaders met in numerous closed-door sessions. House Democrats also held a caucus of their members.

Representatives from Goodyear and the Cumberland County Business Council lobbied lawmakers at the Legislative Building on Monday.

"We're in unchartered waters here. There are a number of scenarios won't know until later," said Rep. Margaret Dickson, D-Cumberland.

"I think we'll be working all day and into the evening to try to put together the best package we can," Rep. Rick Glazier, D-Cumberland County, said.

The governor and some lawmakers had been pushing for more comprehensive legislation than contained in the original bill.

Easley had floated an incentives proposal for next year's legislative session that would provide state and local support to more manufacturing companies.

"I think it (the original bill) all harms the economy, and what we ought to do is lower the tax rates for everybody and make a better business environment for all businesses," Rep. Paul Stam, R-Wake, said.

The General Assembly approved House Bill 1761 in July, creating a $40 million fund to give grants to some multinational manufacturing companies. Although Goodyear wasn't mentioned in the bill, lawmakers said it was written specifically for the company, which has a tire plant in Fayetteville that employs about 2,700.

Under the bill, the company could earn the grants over the next decade by investing $200 million in the Fayetteville plant by 2012 and limiting layoffs at the plant.

When he vetoed the bill two weeks ago, easley said it set a bad precedent for economic development policy. He criticized the bill for allowing Goodyear to layoff as many as 700 people and still collect the grants. Easley also said he didn't want to pay companies that weren't bringing new jobs to North Carolina.

Cumberland County officials said the bill represented efforts an extension of the county's economic policies to protecting existing jobs.

"We have done so much to bring in new industry and to create new jobs. And that's a good thing, I'm happy about it," Dickson said. "But we've done nothing to protect what we have."

"I worry that Cumberland County stands at risk of losing some very high-paying blue-collar jobs," County Manager Kenneth Edge said.

Cumberland County lawmakers had pushed for the override special session, saying Goodyear deserved its own incentives, similar to the tax breaks provided to search-engine giant Google and computer-maker Dell to entice them to build operations in North Carolina.

If three-fifths of House and Senate members had supported the override, it would have marked the first time a veto was overturned since governor's got the veto in 1997.

Easley is the only governor to veto a bill. He has issued eight vetoes, at least one a year since 2002. None of the first seven were overturned.

50 Comments

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  • qtiki2 Sep 10, 2007

    I think Gov. Easley did the right think when he vetoed the bill. Not too far down the road is Firestone which brings as much money into the state as Goodyear; however, Firestone was overlooked by the democrats. Any payola here to the special representative in Cumberland County and other democrats or what was the reason for Sen. Rand pushing so hard for Goodyear to get the grant?????????

  • msncdso Sep 10, 2007

    If our legislature keeps passing this type of thing to intice large corporations(whose stockholders will stand to profit off NC taxpayers) to either come to or stay in our state, every corportation involved will be blackmailing us in one way or another. As taxpayers having to support this nonsense, our roads, schools, and any other infrastructure will continue to disintegrate because there is no way we can continue to maintain, much less improve these vital needs.

  • MeatHead Sep 10, 2007

    I have real issues for paying a company to stay here. They should want to stay here because of a good business climate, good employees, ... Oh, that's rite, this is North Carolina. We have very high taxes, fairly good schools ( in that area), oh, and unions. The employees are all about themselves. I still think we need to encourage the company to stay here. If we set this president, will every company with a toothache ask it's local politicians for tax break... If the people of Cumberland county had a top notch education like the people in Wake county we would know the difference between,president, and precedence!

  • pc35man Sep 10, 2007

    How much more money can the state afford to give away to big business. What about all the issues that need to be resolved that serves everyone not just a few. These are short term fixes when this money runs out how long will it be before they are there asking for more.

  • getrealpeople Sep 10, 2007

    No money down the drain! 42 Street, Second Empire, & Sullivans were busy!!

  • FE Sep 10, 2007

    Ah, let's give it a THIRD try (WRAL, are you spying on me?):

    whatusay, here is a clue to your question:

    RAND

    Ever heard of him? Very high up the food chain in the legislature, aka "Jones Street Roach & Lobbyists Association."

  • FE Sep 10, 2007

    WRAL gremlins are at play...here is end of my prior post:

    Ever heard of him? Very high up the food chain in the legislature, aka "Jones Street Roach & Lobbyists Association."Content-Type: application/x-www-form

  • FE Sep 10, 2007

    whatusay, here is a clue to your question:

    RAND

    Every heard of him? Very high up the food chain in the legislature, aka "Jones Street Roach & Lobbyists AssocContent-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded
    Content-Length: 301
    NS-Client-IP: 68.214.176.48

  • teacher-mom Sep 10, 2007

    What makes Goodyear special? What about Firestone? What about all of the other commpanies in North Carolina?

  • whatusay Sep 10, 2007

    Harry Canyon....do we give money to any business in NC that is in financial trouble? Why Goodyear? Why not every business in the entire state? It is WRONG

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