Project Soccer shoot-out exposes rifts

Tonight's story on the failure of "Project Soccer," the incentives deal that would have brought Continental Tire and 1,300 jobs to Brunswick County.

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Laura Leslie

Tonight's story on finger-pointing over the failure of NC's bid for Project Soccer, the Continental Tire plant that would have employed 1,300 people in Brunswick County:

RALEIGH, N.C. — Senate Republican lawmakers are blaming "pay-to-play politics" for North Carolina losing a bid that would have brought hundreds of jobs to Brunswick County.

But Democrats are firing back, calling the accusation "nothing but a smokescreen."

Continental Tire announced Thursday that it plans to invest up to $1 billion and create up to 1,300 jobs at a new plant in Sumter County, S.C. North Carolina was the first choice for the plant, but the deal fell through after state leaders couldn't agree on the details of a package of around $100 million in tax credits and grants.

Read the rest here - and the TV story is at right.

Of particular interest was a statement from Berger's House counterpart, Republican Speaker Thom Tillis.  

Tillis stayed well out of today's spinfest over the loss of the deal to South Carolina, but issued this cryptic statement this afternoon: 

“I am disappointed that an opportunity for job growth was lost. My office worked diligently to help bring this project to North Carolina, while at the same time protecting the interests of the taxpayers. We made every effort to work in concert with the Governor's office, but requests by my office for critical information were often delayed or sometimes ignored.

"Now, it appears that politics became involved in what should have been a business decision. My office will continue to do whatever we can to promote job creation in North Carolina, and the interests of the taxpayers will always remain my top priority.” 

Throughout the session, Berger's staff has been quick to criticize House missteps on a variety of issues. I could be wrong, but this seems a little like payback. 


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