A bill that would create a public-private economic development enterprise tentatively passed the House today. The measure would create a nonprofit corporation that would contract with the state Department of Commerce to attract companies and promote trade and tourism.
Republican Representative Marilyn Avila addressed the bill's sponsor, Republican representative Tom Murry, saying she thinks the idea will help grow North Carolina's economy.
"It's a consolidation of efforts of economic development. Right now as you said, we're fragmented. And one section is looking out for themselves over here and there. With the approach that you're taking in this view of the marketing and sales department, you got a group that's looking after the whole state," said Avila.
Critics of the measure say partnerships like this in other states suffer from a lack of transparency. And some rural lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans, have expressed fears that a centralized development agency might neglect rural areas.