Governor Perdue’s recommended spending adjustments to the FY 2010-11 budget includes a 7.3% increase for the Department of Natural and Economic Resources (NER), the largest such recommended expansion, percentage-wise, among all state agencies.
A major priority in the NER budget is “economic development” initiatives. The Governor’s proposals focus largely on expanding existing programs such as the Biotechnology Center, tourism promotion, Main Street solutions and the One NC Fund. Perdue also proposes a one-time, temporary “Back to Work” incentive fund which offers a state rebate check to small businesses that hire workers who have been unemployed for an extended period.
Significant expansions and reductions include:
- $15 million more for the One North Carolina Fund, a corporate welfare scheme administered by the Governor’s office to politically-favored corporations
- $15 million to establish the “Back to Work” incentive fund. This fund will award $1,000 rebate checks to small businesses that hire long-term unemployed workers who stay with the company for 3 months or more
- $2 million to expand the Main St. Solutions program. Main St. Solutions provides grants to small businesses in downtown districts in small communities
- $1 million in additional funds for North Carolina tourism marketing and advertising
- $2.7 million reduction to the Division of Forest Resources operating budget
- $108,000 reduction from eliminating state support for the Adopt-a-trail program
- $1.4 million reduction to the operating budget of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services