by Brian Balfour
Senior Vice President of Research, John Locke Foundation
Roy Cooper, the candidate, boldly declared: “Corporate giveaways and tax cuts for the wealthiest come at a high cost for middle-class families.”
Indeed, railing against corporate tax breaks and giveaways has been a prominent theme throughout Cooper’s tenure in office. Below are but some of his statements on the topic:
January 2017 Roy Cooper: “That’s going to be one of the major battles during this General Assembly session. Are we going to invest in education and our people, or are we going to continue with further corporate tax giveaways?”
March 2017 Roy Cooper: “We cannot sacrifice education at the altar of even more corporate tax cuts or giveaways that are mostly for the wealthiest.”
July 2019 Roy Cooper: “the best way to have a good teacher in every classroom is better teacher pay and more investment in education instead of corporate tax cuts.”
June 2019 Roy Cooper: In his remarks accompanying his veto of the legislatively approved state budget last summer, Cooper insisted he objected to the budget because it “values corporate tax breaks over classrooms.”
In his words, Cooper unquestionably opposes corporate tax breaks and giveaways, worried that they would diminish revenue needed to fund teachers and education.
But what about Cooper’s actions? They tell a whole different story.
Below are but a few examples:
May 2017 Roy Cooper: Trumpets the news about Credit Suisse “adding” 1,200 jobs via an investment at RTP, with the help of up to $40.2 million in corporate tax giveaways.
April 2018 Roy Cooper: Gov. Roy Cooper (D) announced a new round of taxpayer funded giveaways for select businesses in several North Carolina counties.
The deals included up to $3,688,200 to Albaad USA, an Israeli manufacturer, up to $8,172,750 to LabCorp, a drug development group, and $300,000 to Neopac, a packaging company.
May 2018 Roy Cooper: “North Carolina state legislative leaders proposed substantial changes to economic-development incentives on Thursday, amid increased public attention on tech giant Apple’s interest in locating in Research Triangle Park.
Gov. Roy Cooper’s office released a statement later in the day supporting the changes”
And of course, there was the mammoth corporate tax giveaway to Apple announced this spring, committing the state to nearly $1 billion worth of tax breaks over 39 years to the world’s wealthiest corporation. A move which Cooper supported.
When Cooper says he’s against “corporate tax cuts,” he’s lying. What he really means is that he’s against cutting taxes across the board for businesses. He is more than happy to grant tax cuts – and taxpayer handouts – to select corporations in a game of blatant cronyism.