This article does a nice job investigating and connecting the dots behind the
corporate welfare scam economic incentives package being crafted by state lawmakers and unelected officials to lure a tire plant to North Carolina.
A state lawmaker and a group of Democratic political donors with ties to Gov. Beverly Perdue are poised to sell land at a handsome profit for a tire plant that’s being lured with $100 million in state and local incentives, according to public records reviewed by The Associated Press.
Perdue’s campaign has received more than $52,000 from five men with an ownership stake in the Brunswick County industrial park proposed for the new facility.
The governor’s son, Garrett Perdue, is also a lawyer and site-selection consultant for an influential law firm that a county official said was advising the tire company. The firm, Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, does not disclose which projects the younger Perdue works on, citing attorney-client privilege.
Also involved in this latest adventure into crony capitalism is (naturally) the unelected and unaccoutable Golden LEAF Foundation.
A development company owned by David T. Stephenson III, a Lumberton tobacco farmer, is also listed as having a stake in the center. Stephenson is a major Democratic contributor appointed to the board of Golden LEAF, a foundation created by the state legislature to dole out hundreds of millions of dollars paid by cigarette manufacturers through a legal settlement.
Brunswick County officials have asked Golden LEAF for a grant to help fund an incentives package for the plant, said the county’s top economic development official.
So, in short, we have land owned by several major Democratic campaign contributors that is poised to make a tidy little profit on the land courtesy of state dollars controlled largely by Democrats. And what a deal those land owners may be getting in return for their generous political donations.
A confidential document outlining the terms of the proposed deal reviewed by The Associated Press indicated that money from the incentives package would be used to buy a large portion of the 1,129 acre site for the tire plant at a price of $6,000 an acre.
Records show the investors bought the site in 2007 for $4.3 million, or about $3,800 an acre.
My calculator tells me that is a 58% profit in four years. But of course, we all know how real estate prices have been soaring since 2007 (Note to Bev: that last sentence was sarcasm.)
This article sheds more light on the dirty underbelly of the “economic incentives” game. By now we’ve all heard of the Solyndra scandal at the federal level. The whole “economic development” process is a nice cottage industry – with site selection consultants, lobbyists and economic development directors all making a nice living at our expense.
Worse still, the entire purpose of the economic incentives game is to further empower the political class, by centralizing the decisions of how our scarce resources are to be utilized. In a truly free economy, we as consumers direct the employment of resources through our purchasing decisions. Government economic development schemes serve to strip power from the many (us as consumers) and concentrate it in the hands of the few (the political class).