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Governor Talks About Goodyear Bill

Gov. Mike Easley is expected to call state lawmakers into session early next week to consider his veto of the Goodyear Bill.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Folks could soon learn whether or not the Goodyear Tire & Rubber plant in Fayetteville will get $40 million in new state tax incentives.

Gov. Mike Easley is expected to call state lawmakers into session early next week to consider overriding or sustaining his veto of the bill that would make companies such as Goodyear eligible for incentives to remain in the state.

The governor said lawmakers may not have read the fine print before passing the incentives package late in the session, which is why North Carolinians saw a rare use of his veto stamp last week.

The governor told WRAL's David Crabtree that certain criteria, like protecting wages and benefits, were missing. The legislation did not name Goodyear, but it was widely understood to be expanding grant criteria to include the company's Fayetteville operation.

"Otherwise, you're just writing a check on a wing and a prayer, and that's just not good business," Easley said.

He would not speculate as to how an override vote might come out, but is convinced there is a better way.

"We owe it to the taxpayer to make sure everything is nailed down," Easley said, "(that) it is written in stone and that the performance has to be there in order for them to qualify for the incentives."

Easley said he does not want any company, large or small, to misread his veto.

"There is a way to do it and keep good companies, like Goodyear," he said.

He wants lawmakers to focus on his American Competitiveness Act idea. It would enhance existing businesses by providing more intense high-tech training for the work force.

"If we do that, we will have the best work force in the world and the best plants in the world and we will be a high-tech industrial and modern state," Easley said.

Whether or not his plan becomes reality before he leaves office in 2009, Easley said his veto of the Goodyear bill was correct.

"You've got to get it in writing and you've got to spend state money, taxpayer money like it's your own money," he said.


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