Will Lack Of NC Business Incentives Push Lawmakers Back Into Session?

Aug 29, 2014

Credit Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Leaders in economic development circles across the state are speaking out against the General Assembly's decision to end the short legislative session without passing an economic incentives package.

For the past decade, the state has used the Job Development Investment Grants program, or JDIG, to help lure large businesses to the state, but money in the fund could run out by late October.

President of the North Carolina Economic Developers Association and head of Statesville Regional Development Mike Smith says he hopes elected officials will resolve the issue soon.

“And this would set a positive tone for North Carolina if we are able to get this enhanced and add this back into what is possible for major projects," said Smith. 

"Because, we certainly don’t want to slow down all the positive momentum that we’ve had, up to this point, in this year.”

In the meantime, Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker has asked Governor Pat McCrory to call a special session, to give lawmakers another chance to pass the economic incentives package.

Decker says a large project the state is pursuing would take up approximately 80 percent of what is left in the JDIG fund’s balance.

Smith sent Decker a letter earlier this week, outlining concerns if JDIG funding ran out.  He says lawmakers should address the cap the state has placed on the number of grants. 

“And at a certain point they might have used up all for that particular year.  Which is certainly a good problem to have, that means we have new businesses coming to North Carolina," said Smith. 

"But it also means for this year, if we don’t have this particular program’s cap increased, then for a large project, we are at a competitive disadvantage.”   

One of the latest large state economic development announcements was Sealed Air Corporation, which is moving its headquarters to Charlotte and bringing 1,200 jobs.