While sounding like a benign “technical” bill – House Bill (HB) 1516 ( Senate Bill 576) – JDIG Technical Modifications sponsored by Reps. Jim Crawford (D-Granville), Margaret Dickson (D-Cumberland) and Pryor Gibson (D-Anson) keeps North Carolina moving ahead on a failed “job creation” strategy. This strategy consists of bribing companies with your tax dollars to relocate here and the companies respond by extorting money out of N.C. taxpayers for doing what they are supposed to do – hire people to make money for their companies!
This bill does two main things. First it extends the life of “Job Development Incentive Grants” (JDIG), due to expire January 1, 2010, until January 1, 2016. By doing the extension, it commits the state to spending at least $150 million more dollars on top of the money already committed (good dollars after bad). Remember this is from a Legislature that can’t get its act together to pass a budget before the start of the new fiscal year and is proposing to raise taxes by over a billion dollars.
North Carolina has been giving tax dollars to businesses for over a decade and has little to show for the “investment.” North Carolina has lagged the nation in job creation since 2001 and has been at the top of the national list in job loss since the start of the current recession, with just six states having higher unemployment rates in May 2009.
While allowing JDIG and several other state programs to let politicians hand out your tax dollars to favored businesses is troubling, there is more. They make closed-door decisions on who gets money and “grants.” It is done in secret, by a “committee” in the case of JDIG, and by individuals in the other cases. Until the decision is announced, the public is purposely kept in the dark, even when legislation is passed.
Of course, if the state did not do all of this secret wheeling and dealing, how would politicians be able to announce how many “jobs” THEY are bringing to N.C.? Hundreds of millions in your tax dollars is a very small price to pay for a politician to be able to send out a press release (for a deserving company?) or attend a groundbreaking ceremony !
A failed “jobs” program that secretly gives away millions of your tax dollars is why HB 1516 is this week’s “Bad Bill of the Week”.