by Brian Balfour
Senior Vice President of Research, John Locke Foundation
As thousands of small businesses were forced to close for good as a result of his economic lockdowns, Gov. Cooper’s administration handed out $1.2 billion worth of corporate welfare to giant corporations like Apple, FujiFilm, and Toyota in 2021.
The just-released NC Department of Commerce report on the Job Development Grant Fund (JDIG) program provides the details.
JDIG is North Carolina’s largest, but far from only, corporate welfare program, so Cooper’s corporate welfare tally will be larger than the $1.2 billion. JDIG does, however, typically include the headline-grabbing major giveaways.
Recipients of JDIG awards annually receive taxpayer dollars based on a percentage of their withholding taxes paid by new employees hired during each calendar year of the agreement. To receive their full complement of taxpayer handouts, companies must meet investment and job creation targets.
A total of 32 companies received JDIG agreements in 2021, most of which will last for 12 years.
By far the largest award was to Apple, which is promised $958 million in tax breaks over the course of 39 years. The second-largest award was to Toyota Battery Manufacturing, a deal potentially worth $87 million over 20 years.
All told, this seems to be a lot of corporate tax breaks for a Governor who has repeatedly told the public that he is against corporate tax giveaways.
Corporate welfare schemes are an attack on freedom. Decisions over the use of scarce means of production are shifted away from consumers and into the hands of the ruling class, a move pushing us in the direction of central planning.