Politics & Government

Economic incentives, film credits will be back up for debate in NC legislative session

The debate over economic incentives that wasn’t settled last year is expected to resume quickly when the General Assembly gets to work this month. Gov. Pat McCrory said recently that passing an incentives bill must be a priority when lawmakers return.

McCrory has said the state is courting potential job creators and that the lack of available incentives could be hurting its chances at landing them. He received ammunition in his fight last week when Mercedes-Benz USA chose to relocate its corporate headquarters from New Jersey to Atlanta, after reportedly considering sites in the Triangle.

The governor wants incentives legislation on his desk to sign in the first weeks of the session, but that’s easier said than done.

Incentives and tax credit issues typically divide the legislature, and not just along party lines. There are Republicans and Democrats who favor them as a way to attract economic development and Republicans and Democrats who see them as nothing more than corporate handouts to favored businesses.

McCrory has said he wants to replenish funding in the popular Job Development Investment Grant program. Last year, then-Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker pushed for more money for the fund, which was running out of money, as well as the creation of a special “job catalyst fund,” a grant program to help land large manufacturing projects. But lawmakers couldn’t agree on an incentives package late in the 2014 session.

Meanwhile, many lawmakers will want to revisit last year’s vote to turn the state’s generous film incentives program into a more modest grant program, much to the dismay of the film industry.

Patrick Gannon, NC Insider