Roy Cooper, the candidate, boldly declared: “Corporate giveaways and tax cuts for the wealthiest come at a high cost for middle-class families.”
Indeed, railing against corporate tax breaks and giveaways has been a prominent theme throughout Cooper’s tenure in office. Below are but some of his statements on the topic:
January 2017 Roy Cooper: “That’s going to be one of the major battles during this General Assembly session. Are we going to invest in education and our people, or are we going to continue with further corporate tax giveaways?”
March 2017 Roy Cooper: “We cannot sacrifice education at the altar of even more corporate tax cuts or giveaways that are mostly for the wealthiest.”
July 2019 Roy Cooper: “the best way to have a good teacher in every classroom is better teacher pay and more investment in education instead of corporate tax cuts.”
Jan 2020 Roy Cooper: In his remarks accompanying his veto of the legislatively approved state budget last summer, Cooper insisted he objected to the budget because it “values corporate tax breaks over classrooms.”
In his words, Cooper unquestionably opposes corporate tax breaks and giveaways, worried that they would diminish revenue needed to fund teachers and education. But what about Cooper’s actions?
They tell a whole different story.
April 2018 Roy Cooper: This week, Gov. Roy Cooper (D) announced a new round of taxpayer funded giveaways for select businesses in several North Carolina counties.
To date, he has committed over $195 million to hand-picked corporations.
May 2018 Roy Cooper: “North Carolina state legislative leaders proposed substantial changes to economic-development incentives on Thursday, amid increased public attention on tech giant Apple’s interest in locating in Research Triangle Park.
Gov. Roy Cooper’s office released a statement later in the day supporting the changes”
July 2019 Roy Cooper: Cooper’s latest statement pretending to be against corporate tax cuts comes literally two days after his office issued a press release bragging about authorizing $4.4 million in taxpayer handouts to ABB, Inc. – a global robotics and electrification corporation with more than $8.5 billion in gross profit last year.
Indeed, Cooper recently boasted about doling out nearly $70 million in corporate tax breaks and giveaways just in the last three months, as pointed out by the Locke Foundation’s Jon Sanders.
Blatant hypocrisy and cronyism
When Cooper says he’s against “corporate tax cuts,” he’s lying. What he really means is that he’s against cutting taxes across the board for businesses. He is more than happy to grant tax cuts – and taxpayer handouts – to select corporations in a game of blatant cronyism.
This enables Cooper to issue press releases touting his “job creation,” while more importantly creating a culture in which he offers political privileges to major corporations of his choosing.
Cooper’s crony deals come at the expense of middle-class families and are the altar upon which education is sacrificed – according to his own words. But when Cooper is the one doling out the giveaways, he consistently ignores such concerns.
If the terms offered in these corporate welfare projects are so enticing to business investment and job creation, why not apply the same terms across the board to all businesses? Imagine the economic growth.
But treating all businesses the same would take away Cooper’s chance to – in part – centrally plan the state’s economy by picking winners and losers and invite more political patronage. And politicians like Cooper don’t want to give that up.
In my next article, I will discuss why North Carolina should eliminate its corporate income tax.