Raleigh, N.C. – In response to the release of a poll conducted by the North Carolina Economic Developers Association (NCEDA) regarding public sentiment on the use of economic incentives, the Civitas Institute, a Raleigh-based conservative think tank, highlighted its polling data which contrasts sharply with the results released yesterday.
When asked what is the most important factor to businesses considering locating in North Carolina, more than three-fourths (76 percent) of respondents to the Civitas DecisionMaker Poll gave reasons such as low business taxes, good public schools or transportation infrastructure. Only 24 percent cited tax and cash incentives. “Our polling shows a voting population that is much more skeptical of the effectiveness of economic incentives as a tool to recruit business,” stated Civitas President Jack Hawke.
Polling results can vary according to the universe chosen for the sample, the number of individuals surveyed, the method used to conduct the survey and the wording of the questions. Civitas polls include a larger sample than the NCEDA poll and are conducted using actual voters with live interviews.
Hawke also questioned the misleading wording of the NCEDA poll that characterized economic incentives as tax credits when incentives also include cash grants given directly to business. The Goodyear incentive package and the One North Carolina Fund controlled by the governor are examples of cash grants given directly to business.
“Voters overwhelmingly reject the idea of giving their tax dollars to companies like Goodyear and think that other factors such as low taxes and quality of life issues are equally, if not more important, than the use of incentives in recruiting business to the state,” Hawke continued. “Eighty percent of voters disapproved of giving cash payments to large corporations to invest in their facilities and retain workers. To equate economic incentives with tax credits gives voters a false sense of what is truly happening in recruiting businesses.”
When asked if it is a better state policy to lower taxes for all businesses or give cash incentives to a few big businesses to create jobs, 76 percent of voters chose lowering business taxes for all. Only eight percent thought giving cash incentives was a better policy.
Also, when specifically asked about the $260 million deal to bring 210 jobs with Google to Caldwell County, half of all voters disapproved of the project.
“Voters recognize that every dollar spent on economic incentives and cash payments to large companies is one less dollar spent for worker training or to fix our inadequate roads and crumbling bridges,” Hawke said. “They understand that handing out multi-million dollar checks to large corporations is not in the best interest of North Carolina.”
The Civitas Institute conducts its DecisionMaker Poll 11 months a year and releases the results the third Wednesday of each month (sans December). The poll is conducted with 800 individuals that have a history voting, through live voice calls. TelOpinion Research of Arlington, Virginia conducts the polls; they have a margin of error of 3.7 percent. Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, Civitas’ November poll will be released November 28 during a noon luncheon at the Brownstone Hotel in Raleigh.