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Big Business Making a Slow Move into Wilson Countryside

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WILSON — The state government offered millions of dollars in incentives to attract a newFedExHub, and a Nucor plant, to North Carolina. Now, a new state law lets local governments bargain with big industry using big incentives.

Wilson is taking advantage of the plan, and your town could too. Big business is slowly moving into Wilson County's countryside.

Places like the area's new corporate park were already attracting clients, but a new incentive by the state may do wonders for growth.

The plan calls for big tax breaks for big industries who move to designated run down, poor or undeveloped areas. That puts a strong lure in the hands of local governments.

"Every tool that you can get to help industry to grow here and to help new industry locate here is going to keep the quality of life here better. It is going to keep our taxes low. It's going to improve the general community," said Jennifer Lantz of Wilson Economic Development.

The incentives are good only for large industries, including manufacturing or research companies. They do not apply to small businesses.

Wilson's leaders believe much of the town and the western part of the county will qualify. By building up, they say the new industries would also carry much of the tax burden.

"They do indeed not only give job opportunities, but they are taxpayers as well. With that it helps spread the cost overall of running city government as well as county government," said Deputy City Manager Charles Pittman.

Thursday's public hearing will give local taxpayers a chance to talk about the proposal. If everything goes well, and the state gives its blessing, the tax incentives to new and existing industries would begin next month.