by Sarah Curry
Director of Fiscal Policy Studies
North Carolina’s 100 counties derive their spending authority from the General Assembly. The state legislature permits local governments to raise tax revenue, budget and manage that revenue, and disburse funds to support activities at the discretion of elected officials. Counties have also been given broad authority to engage in economic development activities. Currently there is no single data source that tracks the expenditure of tax revenue on economic development activities at the local level.
A new JLF report collected this data from all 100 counties in North Carolina. Below are the top five counties that paid incentives to private businesses over a five-year time period.
Many of the agreements that counties approve for economic development do not come to fruition because the company does not create the jobs agreed to or does not make the required investment into infrastructure. The problem with this is that counties are agreeing to pay million in incentives, yet they bet on companies not complying so they don’t have to actually pay for it. If every agreement was honored, county property tax rates would soar to pay for these incentive deals. Below are the top five counties that approved incentives to private businesses over a five-year time period.