Increasingly, city officials have been using municipal-level resources to participate in economic development activities. These efforts have replicated approaches utilized by state and federal officials, albeit on a smaller scale. This study surveys North Carolina’s most populous cities and examines how each conducts economic development in its jurisdiction.

Currently there is no single data source that tracks the expenditure of tax revenue on economic development activities at the local level. To address this need, we collected and categorized economic development spending in cities with populations of 70,000 or more. Between FY 2009 and FY 2014, there were 13 such cities in North Carolina. All 13 cities participated in economic development activities. Collectively, they entered into 238 economic development contracts worth more than $65 million over the five-year period. Actual payments, however, totaled $20.2 million.

City Incentives in North Carolina: How Large Cities Are Using Taxpayer Dollars by John Locke Foundation