Report: NC spends $1.3B on economic development annually

Posted March 12, 2013
Updated March 13, 2013

— North Carolina spent more than $1.3 billion on economic development in fiscal year 2012, according to a report by the legislature's Fiscal Research Division

The report details all the ways in which North Carolina prods industry to grow and spend in the state. The bulk of the economic development spending, $1.25 billion, or 92.5 percent, comes in the form of "tax expenditures."

A tax expenditure is the wonky term for provisions in the tax code that allow an individual or company to skip paying taxes or to get a tax refund. 

Here's how the report breaks down North Carolina's economic development spending:

Incentives breakdown

While the $1.3 billion is an eye-popping number, it can be a bit misleading. 

Some of that does come from tax breaks targeted at a particular industry, like film incentives and a special break for tobacco exporters. But also in there are provisions meant to make sure items aren't double taxed. For example, certain sales taxes to farmers are meant to ensure that the cost of food production doesn't spiral up as a result of compounding sales taxes.

Other categories of economic development include grants to companies, which totaled $37 million in 2011-12, grants to economic recruiting nonprofits and funding for transportation projects that meet the need of a particular business.

North Carolina added to its total economic development spending last week when it gave MetLife an $87 million grant to relocate to the state.


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  • lobgill7 Mar 13, 2013

    How much exactly of this money is spent to keep food prices artificially low? Low food prices along with low food quality actually prevent small producers from entering the food market business.

  • cooldela1966 Mar 13, 2013

    How are we doing on other incentive deals? Like Spirit at the GTP? Are the citizens coming out on that one?