Resisting calls from economic development officials, including his own commerce secretary, Gov. Pat McCrory on Friday said he will not call the legislature back into session to approve a package of economic incentives.
“I’ve decided not to call our legislators back for a special session,” he said in a statement. “It would be counterproductive and a waste of taxpayer money to bring the General Assembly back when there is no agreement in place on issues already voted on.
“However, if a major job recruitment effort develops and it requires legislative support, I will bring lawmakers back to Raleigh.
Lawmakers left town last month without passing legislation that would give the Commerce Department money to lure jobs to the state.
Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker told the N.C. Economic Development Board that lawmakers left job recruiters “in a difficult spot” by failing to add money for Job Development Investment Grants and create a new fund aimed at closing deals with companies.
According to the NC Insider, Decker told the board that money in the JDIG incentives fund would run out by late October without legislative action to increase the cap. She said the state is pursuing a project that would take 80 percent of the fund’s balance, leaving little for about 30 other projects, with 10,000 jobs, which she said are in the pipeline.
“We won’t get all of those jobs even with the Job Development Investment Grant, but I can assure you we will get fewer of them if we don’t have it,” Decker told the group.
“North Carolina is the best product on the market,” Decker said on Friday. “We will continue to use the tools we have to create jobs here.”
This week Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan became the latest official to ask the governor to act.
Speaking at the N.C. Business & Economic Development Summit in Washington, Hagan said “Right now, one of our state’s most important job recruitment tools is at risk.”
Three Charlotte leaders had also joined the call for McCrory to reconvene state legislators in a special session.
Charlotte Mayor Dan Clodfelter, Mecklenburg County commissioners Chairman Trevor Fuller and Charlotte Chamber President and CEO Bob Morgan sent McCrory a letter this month asking for the session, saying the incentives money is “critical to growing the state’s economy.”
Other groups that oppose incentives, such as Americans for Prosperity, had urged the governor not to call a special session.