by Sam Hieb
It is distasteful enough that government must provide tax incentives and subsidies to employers who bring new jobs to North Carolina. It is unacceptable that taxpayers would be expected to pay cash to an existing employer who might lay off workers.
Gov. Mike Easley vetoed legislation Thursday that would have provided the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. with up to $40 million to help it improve its facility in Fayetteville. The company would have gotten the cash even if it laid off as many as 750 workers.
…..But regardless of whether the bill’s flaws are Easley’s fault or the legislature’s, it is clear that the governor had to veto it. He has offered his own plan, one that sounds less distasteful.
The legislature should uphold the governor’s veto and then restart negotiations with Goodyear and Easley to fashion a bill that will work for North Carolina, the company and the workers in Fayetteville.
Incentives have been good business for RF Micro and co-founder Jerry Neal, who will approach Guilford County commissioners later this week with yet another request for economic incentives.
The stakes (gasp) are high:
Neal sees the debate differently. With the help of city and county incentives, the company has about 2,000 local employees. And though it promised to spend $430 million on the previous Greensboro expansions, Neal says it always spends more.
“We have a fiduciary responsibility to our shareholders to get the best deal (for) the investment,” he said.
That means looking at sites outside Greensboro. The company is considering locations in China, Durham and the United Kingdom, officials said in a presentation before the City Council. Forsyth County and High Point have also been considered.
The company is also seeking money from the state, bringing the total incentives package to about $7 million if the company builds in Greensboro, Neal said.
“If someone is offering us a better deal to put this facility,” Neal said, “then we have to consider that.”
I’m getting kinda tired of this stuff. RF Micro should just stick with its claim that it’s a good corporate citizen and provides thousands of jobs. But why the blackmail? Talk about distasteful. It also reeks of that special brand of morality we’re seeing in the environmental movement that dictates that if you don’t care about carbon emissions, then you don’t care about the environment. If you don’t care about incentives for RF Micro, then you don’t care about the Triad’s economy.
Prevailing logic seems to dictate that local governments shouldn’t let companies like RF Micro walk away for a mere $1 million. Yet the real question should be why RF Micro would be willing to walk away from Greensboro for such a paltry amount. I would say that if anyone’s ready to call the question, it’s the Guilford County commissioners. Somehow I don’t think that’s reality, though. Perhaps I’ll be pleasantly surprised.