by Locker Room contributor
The Governor recently vetoed a bill that would provide $40 million to the unionized plant in Fayetteville. Sen. Tony Rand (D-Cumberland) wants this plant to be given a $40 million tax break and the rest of us to make up the difference to the state coffers. NO new jobs created. In fact, if the General Assembly overturns the Govs veto, Goodyear could lay off 750 of its employees and STILL get the money. Moreover, the plant’s union contract essentially means it can’t close until at least 2010 (and let’s also recall that the plant is already getting a $10 million tax break HT-CH)
But this incentive story becomes more bizarre, House Speaker Hackney (D-Orange) is attempting to make this a partisan issue by keeping his troops in line to override the veto. He needs 72 votes (three fifths of the 120 members) to do so, which means he needs help from the GOP. Sadly, Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett) is supposedly carrying water for Hackney and promising 31 Republican votes. Lewis claims that 400+ plus of those union workers live in his district. (Fact check, 400+ live in Harnett and many most likely live in Rep. Jimmie Love’s (D-Lee) district which includes northern Harnett). Lewis also tends to forget that union votes don’t go towards the GOP. However, this has more twists and turns that most mountain roads. Many of Lewis’ promised votes aren’t as firm as he thinks and are saying they’ll keep the veto because the bill goes over the line even amongst those who support incentives. Could Lewis be making a power play against minority leader Rep. Skip Stam (R-Wake)? If the GOP were to actually stick together this might well be a reason that citizens believe that a group could stand up to bad incentive policies. Does Speaker Hackney want a potential defeat in a special session? And what of the people on the left like Rep. Luebke, Rep. Weiss and others who tend to truly dislike incentives?
Another twist is that all three GOP Gubernatorial candidates know a sour apple when they see one and have said they support the veto (Fred Smith, Bill Graham and Bob Orr). Even the Democratic candidates for Governor (Bev Purdue and Richard Moore) see the light as well. This deal is bad for NC and simply bad policy!
And this doesn’t even take into account the millions and millions of dollars that will be pouring into Cumberland county due to the Base Realignment And Closure Act (BRAC) changes. Fayetteville, North Carolina can expect to welcome an
estimate of 18,000 to 45,000 new citizens between 2006 and 2011 due to this change. Hardly a desperate cry for help when rural NC is getting nothing.
Better yet, try to imagine if the state had squandered millions in revenue to try and keep textiles, tobacco and furniture in NC back in the 1970s. Think about how many schools would not have been built, how many roads wouldn’t exists and we’d still have lost all the jobs. One has to wonder what Lewis is thinking. As importantly, with all of NC’s needs, why is only one company worthy of a special session while our roads are deteriorating, our educational system lets 1/3 of the kids drop out and our state spending outpaces inflation and population growth now topping $20 billion?
The folks at MotleyFool said it best. (HT-JC)
?While there’s the threat that Goodyear could always move its tire operations overseas if it doesn’t get the incentives it seeks, that’s not something a company can do too quickly. Nor has Goodyear shown a willingness to do so. But if it can lower its own costs at the expense of taxpayers, it will certainly try.?