HB 117 , known as the NC Competes Act, would, among other things, significantly increase the amount of taxpayer dollars in the state’s Job Development Investment Grant Fund (JDIG).
Yesterday, a Senate Finance Committee put the program under some scrutiny, perhaps signaling some opposition to bill should it be approved by the House and move to the Senate. According to The Insider, a subscription-based state politics news service:
Senate Republicans asked pointed questions Wednesday about the effectiveness of the state’s flagship economic development program, the Job Development Investment Grant, which Gov. Pat McCrory and a House bill seek to replenish with more taxpayer funding. The questions came during a meeting of the Senate Finance Committee, indicating that the incentives bill might not skate through the Senate. House Bill 117 would raise the cap on JDIG awards to $45 million through the end of 2015, a $15 million increase, as well as modify and extend other economic incentives programs. The state has $25,000 left to award out of $22.5 million available this biennium.
(Sen. Bill) Rabon also asked whether there was any way to know whether companies hire local people or bring workers with them from outside the state. JDIG doesn’t require that type of reporting, legislative staff said. Sen. Bill Cook, R-Beaufort, asked about the success rate of companies that receive JDIG grants. Aubrey Incorvaia of the Fiscal Research Division said 201 JDIG grants have been awarded from 2002 through 2014. Of those, three have gone the full term of the award and 73 have either been terminated or withdrawn, with the rest in various stages of the 12-year agreements.
Another question I’d like to see regarding JDIG and other similar corporate welfare schemes is how many local hires made by the incented company were unemployed versus hired away from another company. That would be another measure to gauge the impact these companies actually have on job creation.