by Brian Balfour
Senior Vice President of Research, John Locke Foundation
In 2017, Gov. Roy Cooper’s office proudly boasted about the 2,250 jobs insurance giant Allstate will create in Charlotte, thanks in no small part to taxpayer handouts that could have totaled $17.8 million over twelve years.
Those jobs were supposed to have been created in just three years. Fast forward six years, and now we hear the incentives deal has been terminated after creating a grand total of zero new jobs.
But we shouldn’t be surprised at this news. Indeed, government has a very poor track record picking winners and losers.
Most of the job development investment grants awarded by North Carolina don’t meet their initial announced job or investment targets, a recent News & Observer analysis found.
Since North Carolina began awarding JDIGs in 2003, early-terminated grants have outnumbered completed grants by more than 3-to-1. From 2003 to 2015, the majority of awarded JDIGs ended prematurely in every year but one.
Cooper was so excited about the announcement in 2017 that he hosted a press conference in Charlotte where he handed a plaque to Allstate’s executive vice president of human resources. Of course, Cooper’s office is now silent about the announcement that the deal has ended in complete failure. Politicians love getting their picture in the paper when announcing deals that will supposedly “create jobs,” but become scarce when those deals fail to live up to their promises.
Maybe a condition for handing out these corporate welfare deals should be a requirement that the Governor make a public appearance to announce when the deals fail. If you’re there at the beginning, you should be there at the end. I wonder if that would make them more hesitant to dole out taxpayer dollars to favored corporations?