by Locker Room contributor
The Charlotte Observer printed a letter from Cumberland County Commissioner Kenneth Edge in which he stated that the county was “unanimous in unwaveringly and unconditionally supporting” the $40 million giveaway to Goodyear.
He went on to say, “Losing this plant would be a catastrophe. Thousands of jobs that pay
salaries well above the regional industrial average would be lost. We
would risk seeing home foreclosures and bankruptcies shoot up, real
estate and retail sales stagnate or drop, the services sector wither,
local government revenues drop and charitable giving stressed. The
damage would reverberate through every county and community in our
That is simply astounding if it were true. Sorry, but Goodyear will not even publicly say that they will not lay off people even if they get this incentive, so he’s wrong on one point.
Then he mentions home foreclosures and bankruptcies (more fear mongering from a delusional commissioner). In truth, the impending BRAC (Base Realignment And Closure Act) will bring THOUSANDS of new jobs and BILLIONS in money to the area, so he’s wrong on another point. In fact, here’s the quote from the WRAL news story on the subject, “By 2011, Fayetteville will become the home to the U.S. Forces Command (FORSCOM) and U.S. Army Reserve Command (USARC). The move is expected to bring over 25,000 people, both military and civilians, to the town and surrounding areas and to have a significant economic impact on the entire state. “
25,000 new people!!!! What county in NC wouldn’t beat a path to the General Assembly daily for that opportunity. Sorry, but the Cumberland board’s letter should leave dry eyes statewide.
Sure, it’s terrible to lose a plant anywhere and when Cumberland lost Black and Decker (the plant not the legislators) they survived that as well. And guess what, the state is moving forward with almost historically low unemployment!
If this plant cannot survive without incentives, how will they survive in the future without them? Is Goodyear losing money? Are the taxes in NC too high? What is it they desperately need to keep average workers in $50k/year jobs ($90k w/benefits) while surrounding counties get less than half that or less?
The commissioners should at least be honest and say they simply want the money. They should send a letter saying:
Dear Legislator, please give our Goodyear plant $40 million rather than have them pay taxes. They’re making millions, but if we can use tax money to give them a little bit of an advantage over their competitors in Wilson, we might be able to put those folks at Firestone out of business. Please pick our plant over theirs because ours is more important. And while you’re at it, please consider taxing the rest of the industries in our state highly so that you can pay for the lost revenue. In a difficult business climate it’s important for you guys to give special treatment to certain businesses while the rest of our businesses suffer the 2nd highest taxes in the southeast.
The writer believes that the Gov’s veto sends the wrong message. What the veto really says is that we’ve finally gone too far in giving away money. Incentives were supposed to be about building the economy, not simply giving away political favors. NC is growing increasingly ashamed of its tax environment and incentives are simply becoming the apology for that shame.