There will be another vote today on SB 2075 – a bill that will boost the amount of money the Commerce Department can award to companies via the Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) program. If passed, the bill would expand this corporate welfare scheme by an additional $120 million over the next twelve years.
The General Assembly must have very short memories. Don’t they remember the public outcry after last year’s Goodyear/Firestone boondoggle? The public has had enough of corporate handouts. Civitas polling data shows that an overwhelming 80% of North Carolina voters said they want NC lawmakers to end the "practice of giving big corporations cash payments taken from the taxes paid by small businesses and average taxpayers." Nevermind the fact that such handouts have received heavy scorn from policy groups on both ends of the political spectrum.
Making matters worse is the fact that almost all of the JDIG grant money is awarded to counties deemed as the "most prosperous" in the state (labeled Tier 3 counties). A look at the Commerce Dep’t’s 2007 JDIG Annual Review reveals that 91% of JDIG grant money awarded to recipient companies was directed to wealthy Tier 3 counties. Why do we need to bribe companies to locate or expand in counties that are already economically vibrant? The JDIG program essentially equates to taxpayers from economically distressed parts of the state subsidizing further business development in the wealthiest parts of the state.
Concerned citizens fed up with corporate welfare should keep a close eye on how their local represenatatives vote on this bill.
UPDATE: SB 2075 was approved in the House late Wednesday by a vote of 94-19. See how your representative voted here. The bill moves to the Senate for a vote today.