The AP has come out with a devastating piece on how several state governments, including North Carolina, spent thousands of dollars on a trip to Paris designed to lure aircraft manufacturing jobs to their states.
In neighboring North Carolina, state Secretary of Commerce
Keith Crisco and six members of his staff spent about $112,228 on travel and
The receipts obtained by the AP show Crisco hosted a party
of five at the seafood restaurant Le Ballon des Ternes for a $653 meal of veal
medallions, prawns and snails, washed down with four bottles of wine.
Three months after the Paris Air Show, Crisco had still not
filed his final expense report for the trip. After a reporter requested his
expenses, Crisco’s office said he would seek only the state’s standard $37.50
per diem for his share of the Paris meal.
It was the fourth year in a row that state has sent a
delegation abroad for air shows in either France or England.
“This is about building relationships,” said Tim Crowley,
Crisco’s spokesman. “If North Carolina is going to be a player in the aerospace
industry, it must have a presence at the international air show.”
Several other state delegations, including one from South Carolina, also spent lavishly at the airshow. These trips are in addition to recent jaunts by state officials to Japan, China, and, in the case of Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, even a trip to the tiny Eastern European nation of Moldova. In the article, Sen. Bob Rucho (R-Mecklenburg) gives an excellent indictment of this vision of how to attract jobs:
“It might be flashy to say we landed a couple hundred jobs with some foreign company, but we need to be growing jobs with our own North Carolina companies. You hunt where the ducks are.”