Last year, Gov. Roy Cooper pledged $146 million in grants to individual corporations — while vetoing a reduction to the corporate franchise tax that would have allowed businesses in North Carolina, including small Mom & Pop shops, to retain an estimated $255.2 million.

So far this year Cooper has pledged nearly half a billion dollars in grants to individual corporations. The count so far is nearly $445 million to just 22 corporations. See below for a list as —

I’m sorry. I can’t let that go. Half a billion dollars of tax money pledged away in a year when he has deliberately kept whole categories of businesses closed for over half a year, with no end in sight. Half a billion dollars of tax money pledged away in a year when he deliberately shut other categories of businesses for months, only to allow them to “reopen” halfway and damn their business model and chances for survival.

Half a billion dollars of tax money pledged away in a year when this happened:

North Carolina State Government Year-Over-Year Decline in Revenues

This cronyism and witless central planning is indefensible by any measure.

But then you get justifications like these. This was two corporate welfare announcements before the notorious USGA giveaway but after the Centene award, the most jaw-dropping corporate welfare ever devised in North Carolina.

Read this fabrication from the governor’s office:

Retirement Clearinghouse, LLC (RCH), a leading national name in retirement plan services, will create 300 new jobs in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced today. The company will invest more than $4.1 million to expand their headquarters and corporate office in Charlotte.  …

Retirement Clearinghouse’s North Carolina expansion will be facilitated, in part, by a Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee earlier today. Over the course of the 12-year term of the grant, the project is estimated to grow the state’s GDP by more than $672 million. Using a formula that takes into account the new tax revenues generated by the 300 new jobs, the JDIG agreement authorizes the potential reimbursement to the company of up to $3,267,000 over 12 years.

The governor wants us to believe that he can give a company $3.27 million to induce them to invest $4.1 million here, and that would produce over $672 million in economic impact.

A list of the governor’s giveaways so far this year

Jan. 7: $90,000 to LL Flex (One North Carolina fund, “OneNC”)

Jan. 13: $500,000 to Sara Lee Frozen Bakery (OneNC)

Jan. 21: $8,689,500 to Eli Lilly and Company (Jobs Development Investment Grant fund, “JDIG”)

Jan. 24: $50,000 to Pactiv Corporation (OneNC)

Feb. 17: $60,000 to Nebraska Plastics, Inc. (OneNC)

Feb. 17: $200,000 to Armorock, LLC (OneNC)

Feb. 17: $250,000 to Atlantic Casualty Insurance Company (OneNC)

Feb. 18: $3,725,100 to Audentes Therapeutics (JDIG)

May 27: $500,000 to Unix Packaging (OneNC)

May 27: $3,080,000 to Ontex Operations USA, LLC (JDIG)

June 2: $5,200,000 to GRAIL, Inc. (JDIG)

June 4: $150,000 to Ames Copper Group (OneNC)

June 9: $5,161,500 to Grifols Therapeutics (JDIG)

June 9: $2,430,000 to Prime Beverage Group (JDIG)

June 15: $50,000 to Anthem Displays LLC (OneNC)

June 18: $150,000 to Serioplast US LLC (OneNC)

July 1: $387,890,250 to Centene Corporation (Transformative JDIG)

Aug. 1: $2,106,000 to Prepac Manufacturing Ltd. (JDIG)

Aug. 11: $3,237,750 to Beam Therapeutics (JDIG)

Aug. 11: $3,267,000 to Retirement Clearinghouse, LLC (JDIG)

Aug. 20: $100,000 to Continental Structural Plastics (OneNC)

Sept. 9: $18,000,000 to United States Golf Association (JDIG, OneNC, and $14.4 million from some as-yet undetermined source)

Total corporate welfare pledged by Gov. Cooper so far this year: $444,887,100.