Is it too early to call NC Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker the new Corporate Welfare Queen?
The administration of Gov. Pat McCrory is pushing a proposed tax on fracking as a substantial piece of its economic recovery strategy, with key Republicans saying it would raise millions for financial incentives to recruit companies or help them expand in North Carolina.
“I’m very selfish – the governor gets tired of hearing it,” (Commerce Secretary Sharon) Decker told the group. “He says, ‘Lordy, mercy, you’re the greatest advocate for fracking I’ve ever seen.’ And I said it has nothing to do with fracking. I want those dollars in economic development.”
There you have it. Our state’s Commerce Secretary not concerned with unleashing energy exploration in the state that could create thousands of jobs and stimulate commerce – but rather is consumed with wide-eyed excitement about gaining control over more of other people’s money in order to dole it out to corporations that she deems worthy.
Such statements reveal the central planner that Decker apparently aspires to be. In a free, competitive economy, consumers (that’s us) control the flow of capital goods and investment by virtue of our decisions of which goods and services we choose to buy or not to buy.
But apparently Decker doesn’t share that vision. Instead of unshackling the economy from taxes, regulation and government privilege, Decker lusts after centralizing more power over the state’s means of production into the hands of the political elites (thus overriding the choices of the rest of us).
If the state does indeed end up raising tax revenue from fracking companies, we would be far better off leveraging that additional revenue into further tax rate reductions in order to attract more investment from entrepreneurs responding to market forces. That’s a superior recipe for economic growth compared to Decker’s desire to manage the economy by granting political privilege to a select few, well-heeled companies at the expense of everybody else.