Lame Duck Commissioners…

Another Production from our Lame Duck Commissioners

Tuesday morning’s opinion piece in the local paper “Heralded” (pun intended) the bravery of the “lame duck” board of commissioners for passing incentives for Coty.  It mentioned there may be no more chances for such chivalry and honor (my words) once the new establishment (hidden meaning: mean, ruthless, hate incentives new commissioners) come on board. Can we say “tone deaf”?   That includes the Herald. 

Doc, Did you hear that? No Richard. Okay, neither did I. Stay with us now Ed & Robert...don't go listening to that noise from the right!

Lee County citizens can now be satisfied the diagnosis of ‘tone deafness’ among the present Board of Commissioners has been confirmed.   Test results were positive. Monday night, the Board met and voted to give away more than $150,000 in county tax rebates to Coty, the world’s largest fragrance distributor.  All totaled, the county and the city will provide the company $286,000.  Lost in the discussion was the fact that Coty had no plans to expand or relocate elsewhere.  Sanford is one of only three sites in the USA where Coty has mature facilities, the other two being New York City and Miami.  

 The beauty of this giveaway for Coty is they are under absolutely no commitment to create or even retain jobs to receive the rebates.  What else is new? All they have to do is add new equipment or facility upgrades to qualify.  That expansion was already in the cards for the Sanford plant.  So, this incentive deal was just a high-level kickback for being a reliable employer in the local area.   Can’t blame Coty knowing the track record for the current commissioner board members. 

Absent from the Board in this, the final BOC meeting for Commissioners Kelly and Dalrymple, was Linda Shook, who had a prior commitment in California.  Speaking in favor of the incentives deal for Coty were Bob Heuts of the LCEDC, and John Daniel from the LCEDC Board of Directors.   Does Bob ever speak against them? No!

The lone “common sense” voice speaking in opposition to the package was Commissioner-elect Jim Womack.  He appealed to the BOC not to rush this package through.  He asked the board to analyze the deal more closely, to require the creation of jobs in the contract, and to ensure the document meets NC legal requirements for incentives.  The Board would have none of that, voting unanimously to move the contract forward without modification.

Just two weeks ago, the citizens of Lee County spoke through the ballot box about their dissatisfaction with elected leaders at the County, State and Federal levels.  Sweeping changes were made in every locally contested race, except for Mrs. Shook, the lone voice on the BOC who traditionally has argued for fiscal conservatism.  Unfortunately, the other sitting members of the BOC remain tone deaf; either ignorant of the will of Lee County citizens or unwilling to adjust their spend-happy behaviors.  Defiant to the will of the people is more like it.

Two weeks from today the BOC will replace Jamie Kelly and Amy Dalrymple with conservatives Jim Womack and Charlie Parks.  The BOC will shift to the ‘right’ in its fiscal policies, though a fourth vote for many policy issues will be hard to muster with (RINO) Doc Oldham and moderate Democrat Ed Paschal normally voting with the ‘left’ on fiscal matters.  Left, fiscal – do they really belong in the same sentence? 

Truthfully, it will be two more years before the BOC gains the fourth or more conservative votes necessary to bring the board into full compliance with the will of the people.  It’s likely that Doc Oldham, Richard Hayes, and Ed Paschal all will be voted off the BOC as a result of their tone deafness.  If this past election is any guide, the 2012 election will usher in three new at-large commissioners who can harmonize fiscal stewardship with responsible economic development.

Anyway, because I am just a patriot, and of course, apparently not as smart as our current “lame duck” commissioners are (I’m braver though), I must have been actively protecting my family and country when the “EDC Reform Committee” went into non-action.   Because this is not an indication the meetings did any good at all.

I think it’s time to add another version of my famous words, “Give me liberty or give me death”.  From this point on, I should say :

“Give me liberty and not liability.”

Patrick

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About Patrick Henry

"Give me liberty, or give me death!"
This entry was posted in Economic Development, Election 2010, Jobs & Workforce Development, Lee County Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Lame Duck Commissioners…

  1. Goose says:

    Good one Patrick! One thing I have been wondering about this election cycle, maybe you movers and shakers can throw some light on the subject. Why did the GOP not run anybody in the 1st district? Do we have no one in that district that could have run for the BOC? Even a fairly weak candidate might have made Robert Reives sweat a bit, now we have to put up with him for four more years. Was it a lack of persuading someone to run or was it a plan to focus money and effort in races where we had a better chance to win? It seems to me to have been wrong headed, either way you can’t win if you don’t enter the race. Will there be 3 strong entries in the 2012 at large races? If not we will never really have control of the BOS. I expect a minor swing back to the left as the voters do not see results that meet their high expectations brought about by the GOP. The party is split really about 3 ways there are the RINOs, the old guard, and the Tea Partiers. The tension between the old guard and the new Tea group was apparent during this cycle, it will probably continue to grow as the Teas demand more say because of their victories. I suppose I will just have to wait and see what develops…

    • Let not your heart be troubled, Goose. The GOP is not about to let its momentum slip away. The party has to be patient and stand its ground for the next two years. There will be a lot of 4-3 votes on the BOC, no doubt. But conservative points will be made and the discussion will be far from one-sided. The fiscal conservatives on the BOC might even get Robert, Ed, or Doc to cross over once in a blue moon to vote the values of the majority of Lee County citizens. All of us will celebrate the victories and continue championing noble causes. We can trust the voters will recognize the failures of the left and vote that way again in 2012. You can also rest assured the GOP will have three top-notch candidates identified for the 2012 at-large comissioner race, who will represent a major step forward for the BOC. Then, the Board will have six seated conservatives for at least two more years. If you think 2010-2012 will be interesting, just imagine the progress from 2012-2014!

      • Goose says:

        Publius, Forgive me but you sound like an Obamacrat after the 2008 election, all puffed up with victory. Can you say “Yes We Can”? Two years later disaster at the polls why because they failed to produce and the independents and moderates were fed up with them by 2010. The GOP is still a minatory we owe our victory to the independents. In theory we have a majority on the BOS, the voters are going to blame us for their actions. In reality we do not control the Board. If we can’t produce some good changes in the next two years we may lose all 3 of the at large seats. We are still dependent upon independents to win those seats. How many of our conservative points and splendid discussion will the voters know about? This is why I am upset that we ran nobody in the 1st district, If we had won we would control the board, if we had lost at least the voters wouldn’t have the concept that we made a clean sweep and now it is up to us to produce. “Rest assured that the GOP will have 3 top-notch candidates in 2012” when they couldn’t produce anyone to run in the first district? I was born at night but it wasn’t last night! It is already time to quit celebrating and start planning for 2012. Start selection of our 3 best candidates and get them active so their names become well known.
        What to do about Sheriff Carter, can he be counted on as a member of the GOP after his actions this fall? It appears he is not part of the conservative wing. Will the GOP ‘big tent’ him and forget about his endorsements or drive him out of the party so he runs as a Dem. In 2014. Disaster unless we are ready to run someone great against him.
        You Sir are an optimist; I am a pessimist who hopes you are right.

  2. Coty is an international mega-company. It does $4B in annual revenues in fragrance sales alone. I find it amazing that Coty would require a mere $286,000 in tax kick-backs from Lee County to expand its production lines here. Why not $2million? After all, they’re the largest private employer in Lee County. I mean, Coty just signed a multi-million dollar deal last week with Lady Gaga to market their perfumes. Surely we should be paying Gaga sums of money to Coty to help protect them from future layoffs here!

    Seriously, though, this incentives deal is an illegal tax rebate that violates the spirit and the letter of the law of North Carolina General Statutues. Our lawyers know that, so they are culpable. The only thing missing here is a a lawsuit from another employer in Lee County. If the CEO of Static Control chose to sue Lee County for a similar rebate of his ad valorem taxes and hired a good lawyer he could win. Every employer in Lee County could follow suit, which could break the back of our economic development.

    When are we going to learn? Heck, I heard rumor even Lady Gaga thinks what the BOC did last night was outrageous. Now that’s quite an accomplishment- making Lady Gaga blush!

    Publius

  3. Patrick Henry says:

    Goose: I wonder if JM’s confidence has to do with the likely candidates. Those who have shown interest, that is. It’s obvious that the public is sick and tired of followers and want leaders. They are sick of shenanigans and want civility. And they are sick of bullies.

    PH

    • For both Patrick & Goose;

      First, recognize that running for County Commissioner requires thousands of dollars and hundreds of man hours committed to campaigning. It is a rigorous process and not many folks wish to go through it. Next recognize that not one of the 100 or so Republicans in the 1st District wants to run against Robert Reives. Can you blame them? The 1st District Dems outnumber the GOP and Unaffiliated combined by 5:2, and 70% of the voters there are minority voters. That district is set up ALWAYS to get an East Sanford Democrat elected. Ronald Reagan would lose that contest.

      Now examine Robert Reives’ track record. Besides Linda Shook, he is the only commissioner on the board who stands up to Richard Hayes and Doc Oldham when they bully the BOC and force bad government ideas on the county. He does his homework and he speaks on behalf of his constituents better than any commissioner with the exception of Mrs. Shook. By most measures, Mr. Reives is a moderate with a keen intellect and a cooperative spirit. We could do a lot worse coming out of the 1st District. Sure, he almost always votes with the BOC majority, but that is because he doesn’t wish to be viewed as uncooperative. I suspect he’ll be a little more open and vocal after the Dec 6th intallation of two more conservative voices on the BOC.

      As for me sounding like a post-2008 election Obamacrat, that’s laughable. I am not a liberal in any sense of the word. I am not puffed up with pride; but rather confident in the re-establishment of conservative principles in our government. I trust in God and believe our people will continue to move to the right in their voting preferences through at least one more election cycle. Obama, Reid, and Pelosi will help drive more moderates to the right than anything we could do on our own. And the economy will continue to flounder for two years giving the people even more to blame the ‘left’ for.

      Obamacrats were foolish to put their hopes in one unproven liberal politician to be the ‘savior’ of the left. We Patriots have the most Holy and proven source of confidence to give us hope! Plus, the GOP in Lee County is finally getting its act together. It is better resourced and organized than ever, and reflects the mood of the county much more effectively than the democrat party. I am confident the vision and leadership of our local party will only get better over time. We will maintain the momentum we had coming out of the Nov 2nd election!

      Publius

      • Goose says:

        Publius
        I must confess my ignorance of the first district; I did not know it was a forever Dem. district. I also didn’t know that Mr. Reives may have DINO tendencies. I will take your word for both. So what are the odds of conservatives wining all three at large seats? I suppose that there will be six or more candidates and the top 3 vote getters get the seats? Will we really have the three best, most popular, candidates? Remember in theory we control the BOS, we don’t really, so any unpopular actions taken by the BOS will most likely be blamed on us in 2012, or at least that would be my plan if I were a Progressive-Democrat. I realize we have to think positive to win, but it is better to plan how we will handle any negatives that will pop up.
        I did NOT mean that you were an Obamacrat or even a liberal independent in 2008, only that you sounded very sure that the tide had changed and there was a great Conservative wave that we could ride for years because of the 2010 results. We had better candidates in the three local races. Stone and maybe Ellmers won by pointing to their opponents voting record and basically saying anyone could do better than that or at least that was what powered my votes. It was anyone other than “who are you” Etheridge, Stone isn’t great but look at Love’s voting record and it is time to bring him home.
        Obama’s Change and Hope had huge coattails until the voters saw what his Changes actually were going to do to them. A lot of our 2010 wins were to reverse that trend. The Democrats that were returned were mostly those that at one point or another had broken with the extreme Progressive position.
        As I said before I think you are more of an optimist than a realist and I do hope you are right but I wouldn’t bet on it.

  4. Billy Liggett says:

    Go back and read the editorial.
    We didn’t “Herald” anything … merely an observation that it won’t be easy to do that in the future.
    Please show me where we supported the incentive?
    Please show me where we call the incoming commissioners mean, ruthless?

    Tone deaf?
    Your blog entry is blind.

  5. Patrick Henry says:

    Dear Billy! You’re back. Where have you been?

    Read carefully the words in the parenthesis that say MY WORDS: “It mentioned there may be no more chances for such chivalry and honor (my words) once the new establishment (hidden meaning: mean, ruthless, hate incentives new commissioners) come on board. ”

    I will defend my words. The “tone” of the opinion piece most definitely was: they got it in while they could. There may never be another chance.

    And you know as well as I do, that insinuation is “they get sworn in, no more incentives”. If you don’t mean it that way, then make it loud and clear. And you can do that right here, right now. Otherwise, in America, I am entitled to an opinion, as well. And I didn’t like the “Heralded” piece.

    With a title like this:
    “Our View: Coty incentive slides in before board change”, exactly what did “slides in” mean then?

    And just for the readers who do not have the paper in front of them, this is part of the piece: ” More importantly, there’s only a month to go before the tide shifts on the county board, and getting an incentive approved will no longer be a piece of cake.

    Republicans will own a 4-3 advantage come January, and three of those Republicans have vowed, for the most part, to fight incentives, which they view as government handouts. Returning commissioner Linda Shook voted against a $900,000 incentive plan for Caterpillar … a plan that is supposed to bring in more than 300 jobs in the next five or six years. ”
    Read more: Sanford Herald – Our View Coty incentive slides in before board change

    You have the floor. Please inform us.

    PH

  6. Patrick Henry says:

    Might I also add, they don’t have a 4-3 advantage. That old Doc Oldham votes with the left every time. He’s only a Republican in theory. I mean, name only. I know some of you don’t like the acronym that represents wolves in sheep…Oh, darn there I go again. I mean “clueless in sheep clothing”.

    They use to call representatives like that “traitors” in 1776. Now they call them RINOs.

    PH

    • Goose says:

      Patrick, Oldham was elected running as a Republican was he not? So in theory the GOP will be in control of the BOS and will be easy to blame anything they do on the GOP in the next election.
      You seem to forget your history, you were considered to be a “traitor” to the conservatives of that time, known as Loyalists. If the King’s men had caught up to you, you would have gotten death rather than liberty.

      • Patrick Henry says:

        He ran as a Republican and votes like a Dem. I haven’t forgotten my history. I definitely wasn’t a perfect patriot. I was a radical. Hmmm… an anti-federalist. But hey, I was liked enough to become a Governor!

        A fitting end, maybe heroic, might have been to wait for my enemies to behead me like they did William Wallace! Instead, I drank mercury. Dasterdly stuff. Don’t try it. You may end up like me – a dead man walking.

        Ha!

        PH

  7. The "Outlaw" Josey Wales says:

    Woooo horsey, there’s a shoot out going on. Cool.
    Why wasn’t I invited?

    What’cha packing Patrick? Billy?

    Josey

  8. Billy Liggett says:

    Patrick, you pretty much defended the paper’s stance.

    We wrote:
    More importantly, there’s only a month to go before the tide shifts on the county board, and getting an incentive approved will no longer be a piece of cake.

    We didn’t say “hoooray incentives!!!”. We didn’t say, “The new board will vote against all incentives.” We just said, “It wont’ be a piece of cake.”

    Incentives will be questioned. And we predict they’ll be voted against. The three new candidates pretty much said that in their campaign (shall I go back and find their questionnaires on the subject?).

    So thanks, you pretty much took care of the argument for me.

    • Goose says:

      I’ll take a risk here and say that I think Billy Liggett won this exchange on points. (Sorry Patrick) Of course I read the Herald article first and didn’t disagree with it. Patrick made a big deal about what I consider to be normal political action; you pass the bill while you have the votes. You can call it tone deaf if you want to but the truth is that the BOC and the City Council already had made worse incentive deals, why be surprised that they passed another before the new members had a say? Lame ducks can still fly!

      • Patrick Henry says:

        Frankly, I didn’t know we were competing. Looks like Josey thought so. I could care less who won. The damage is done. Somewhere the message has been lost. The message now, and maybe it was deliberate, is the war between Billy and me. Which is exactly the wrong thing to happen.

        It appears, when it comes to incentives, no one gets turned down no matter how ludicrous the request is and how insane the promises are. That is unless you are a small business wanting to setup shop. I surely hope the new commissioners will call on the people to show up at meetings and raise a flag at every one of these requests. What’s going to happen? Is the sheriff going to arrest all of us?

        Anyway, 70% of jobs created in America come from small businesses.
        It’s one of those main street concepts that is being eliminated by the big boys. Just go take a walk along Depot park and look at the empty store fronts.

        At some point to quote the now famous Jeremiah “ain’t” Wright, “the chickens will come home to roost.” And the liability of all the broken promises, the empty buildings, and the welfare mentality will be on the peasants back. It’s actually happening now but most are too blind to see.

        Mark my words.

        PH

  9. Goose says:

    If you don’t want a war you should not attack. As I see it Liggett was saying the same thing you were only you objected to his choice of words.
    Does anyone know where I can find statistics on small businesses startups? It seems to me that many fail in the first two years, and add little to the tax base at that stage. The first jobs are likely to be family members (Mom and Pop outfits) I know I have quit investing my money in such businesses, and I question if Lee County should either. Maybe you miswrote and you meant established small businesses. Let’s give $10K incentive to the Herald for new equipment. Do you really think that would create a bunch of new jobs? Usually better equipment replaces labor. Unless the business expands to sell more products, there isn’t much job growth. That new equipment would go on the tax rolls at least until the corporation that owns the Herald decides they are in a losing position and moves the operation elsewhere. Expanding small businesses create jobs. Static or declining operations, not so much. Keep that in mind when you make that true statement about small businesses creating 70% of new jobs. All those empty store fronts once held small businesses, they either failed or out grew the space and moved to newer bigger stores like Wal-Mart did and Big Lots is doing now. Every city and many smaller places have dead downtowns it is a trend that has been going on for at least 50 years, Sanford has done better than most at keeping downtown alive. BTW if all those empty storefronts were thriving, where would the workers park let alone the customers?

  10. Patrick Henry says:

    I like you “Goose”. Thoughtful words.

    Hey, go ahead give the Herald money. Why not? At least we SEE what they are doing! I’m sorry you’ll not change my mind on incentives. I believe they should be done on the state level (or not at all – go read Judge Orr at NCICL) and leave the locals to deal with the other stuff as in unfunded mandates by the state and feds.

    “BTW if all those empty storefronts were thriving, where would the workers park let alone the customers?” – my thoughts: Now that would be a nice problem to have.

    Enjoyed the conversation. I’m off to work so Congress can spend more.

    PH

    PH

  11. At the risk of perpetuating an argument that may not need further elucidation, allow me to weigh in on both Mr. Henry’s and Mr. Liggett’s points.

    In re-reading the Herald article, I agree with Mr. Liggett it was presented in such manner as not to signal the paper’s support of or opposition to incentives. I believe the intent was to convey factual information and provide an observation (although still an opinion) that these kinds of rebates won’t likely be as easy to pass in the coming months. Few would disagree with that observation.

    To Mr. Henry’s points- I think they reflect a right-minded sensitivity that these incentives deals just don’t get the critical review they deserve. He is right in saying these favors come at the expense of local taxpayers; people with far less disposable income than the executives and majority shareholders of large companies who eke out a marginally larger profit from these deals. I think Mr. Henry is also frustrated with the fact that SMALL businesses- whom everyone knows we depend on for economic growth and recovery -do not get incentives or any other form of help from our EDC these days.

    I think Mr. Henry is disturbed the Herald neglects to report the fact that several legal scholars in North Carolina have analyzed these rebate-only deals and rendered opinions they are illegal– NC case law seems to back up that argument. We are a county, state, and nation of laws. Ignoring our general statutes and willfully signing potentially illegal incentives contracts like these is the surest way to drive a conservative up a tree!

    Finally, I think Mr. Henry is dismayed (as am I) that what we are doing in these incentives hasn’t proven to work over the long run. Most of these companies we have given incentives to the past decade have either closed or laid off thousands of workers during the recession. Rarely do the Herald or any of the EDC faithful present to our public the fact that plant closings have followed on the heels of sizeable property tax rebates to those same companies. I don’t recall the Herald mentioning the amounts of incentives companies received when they published reports of (earlier) layoffs at Caterpillar, or the HUGE rebates we have paid (and continue to pay) to Wyeth/Pfizer before they announced large-scale layoffs this year, or Parkdale, et. al.

    I think what Mr. Henry and perhaps most of Lee County would like to see is a more balanced presentation of the facts about these incentive deals- possibly sharing with the Herald readers more of the specific criticisms being levied against the incentives so the story doesn’t leave the reader with the impression that fiscal conservatives just don’t care about creating jobs in Lee County (when we all know that isn’t the case).

    I don’t think what Mr. Henry is after requires all that much effort on the part of intrepid Herald reporters. It’s not like he is demanding investigative journalism.

    Publius

    • Goose says:

      So does the fact that there were layoffs or cutbacks at some of our industries mean that the tax base was reduced or the amount of property taxes paid by them decreased? The problem as I see it is that people are led to beleive that they are buying jobs with incentives when the plain fact is that they are not. That the Founding Fathers is buying into this myth is very disturbing to me, you are supposed to be thinkers but you continue to buy the BS about jobs dished out by the EDC. Maybe they could be forced into making it a condition of the incentive that it will only be paid if X number of jobs at Y wages are created and maintained but it has not been in the past and many employers big or small would not accept such a condition. They have experience in the labor market and know they will have to cut back if conditions change. If you want to be sure to create more jobs invest in government or education these people are experts in make work jobs! Honk!

      • Goose;

        You’ ve got our perspective all wrong. No true fiscal conservative believes the government creates jobs (other than government jobs). Only business can create jobs that matter…and even then, business depends on free enterprise and the immutable principles and laws governing the economy to thrive. When government invokes itself into the process it is an artificial act and typically only upsets the natural ebbs and flows of the macroeconomic cycle.

        Not one of us founding fathers believes government is or should be in the job creation business. In fact, we have advocated restricting government from getting involved in incentives except where strategically required to transform a failed economy; and only then when all the necessary elements are in place (workforce development, tax base improvements, job guarantees, education/training, etc.).

        Not one of us has made the claim that the LCEDC has created a single job over the past 10 years, save for the two paid positions in the LCEDC. What we have been arguing is that the EDC ought not be allowed to apply incentives to any business venture in Lee County without first having a jobs component in the equation. That would require the business to create a set of jobs in return from some consideration from the county (not the county creating jobs). Most if not all of the jobs the business wants to create should be locally sourced (not residents of another county) for property taxes to be fairly waived. That way, the citizens of the county aren’t subsidizing the employment of workers from outside the county where the incentives are being paid.

        Finally, this article and comments were not intended to discuss ‘make work’ jobs. We are serious about changing the way Lee County goes about economic development. We want the handouts and kickbacks to stop. Only ways to make that happen are to get the BOC votes for a change in strategy and to educate the public about what’s been going on.

        Publius

  12. Patrick Henry says:

    Thanks JM. I’m not sure where the idea that we believe the story of jobs, jobs, and more jobs Huets and company are feeding the public. I’m scratching my head on that one.

    PH

    • Goose says:

      Maybe it was the fact that both Patrick and James were blasting incentives on the basis that new jobs were not created or old jobs maintained, that led me to think that they had absorbed the EDC hype. Just above James is saying that incentives should have a ‘jobs component’ including that such jobs should be reserved for Lee County residents, more evidence that he has swallowed the jobs hype. So starch your head raw, PH I can only judge you by your words and they seem to indicate that jobs are included in your thoughts about incentives. HONK!
      James, do we apply the conditions of your jobs component to city, county, and school district employees? All of them receive money raised by the property tax. It seems to me that we presently have a sitting Commissioner that decided not to run again because he was exposed to charges that he did not truly reside in his district (as required by law) and actually resided outside Lee County. Do we have a rule either written or just supported by custom that says all public employees must reside in the jurisdiction that employs them? If legal we should have such a rule for the very reasons you want to apply to private employers. I know of jurisdictions outside NC that have such rules in place and have so far resisted legal challenges. If a department head wants to fill a position with someone from outside the jurisdiction, he must ask for a waiver that requires him to show evidence that he made a good faith effort to fill the position locally and failed. If the waiver is approved the job offer or contract requires the candidate to relocate into the district within one year (exceptions are made for some hardships such as building a new residence) and a condition of his continued employment is his residing within the district.
      Now I know this is not done by Lee Co. Sheriff since one of his female deputies was arrested for a crime at her home in another county. Anybody have any data on whether our local public employees reside in Lee County? It makes sense to me that they should reside where the taxes are raised to employ them. HONK!

  13. Goose;

    You raise an excellent point about our tax dollars going to pay for public workers who reside outside our county. At the very least I support implementing a hiring preference for county residents, if state and federal employment laws permit that. I especially prefer our law enforcement officials be residents of Lee County (for myriad reasons).

    Insofar as your criticism of incentives goes, I think you still miss some of the points I have been making and the points I believe Patrick was making as well. We are not champions of incentives, in general. We recognize they are commonly used across the country and that corporations have come to expect or demand them in exchange for economic expansion or relocation. But we also want citizens to know that property tax rebate-only incentives are illegal in North Carolina (General Statute 105-380 in combination with Section 2, Article V of the NC Constitution). Neither Patrick nor I like incentives because they are disproportionate, non-uniform government interventions in what otherwise would be a free market environment.

    The point I was making in earlier posts about forcing a ‘jobs component’ into any future incentives deals we process in Lee County is that the law requires this or other benefits to be structured into the incentives contract for it to be legally permissible. I believe it is important to comply with the law…it’s that simple. Moreover, if the county elects to pursue an incentives deal at present, I should think it vitally important for us to tie any tax rebate to the creation of jobs, those being jobs for Lee County residents. Now, I recognize this is a controversial reqirement. And I recognize that most companies will not want to have their hands tied to hiring local people or to maintaining a certain employment level or to paying employees a stipulated minimum salary. I respect a company’s desire not to sign up for those kinds of stipulations, but we’re not suggesting incentives deals would be attractive for every company. Frankly, I would hope these deals are only acceptable in strategic economic development scenarios- game changers that would transform the county in a dramatic way.

    What many of us are hoping is that we can get the EDC to stop pushing incentives deals as our primary or preferred development tool. Instead, we wish to see more marketing and promotion of the county, more emphasis on retaining and expanding our small businesses and more effort in getting our unemployed back to work locally or in neighboring counties. Jobs for Lee County citizens are our most important near-term challenge, and the EDC isn’t doing enough to help alleviate that problem.

    Hope this helps clarify where we are coming from.

    Publius

    • Goose says:

      Publius,
      The employment rules I spoke of were put in place by minority pressure in cities that suffered from “white flight” where the city became more and more minority as the whites fled to the suburbs. The minorities complained about lily white police and fire departments. Affirmative action, unofficial quotas and these rules were all results of this pressure. How legal are they? Quotas were not, but affirmative action and the residency rules remain, I don’t know if they have been challenged in the courts. The county wide law enforcement rule was and the courts ruled in favor of them, probably for the “myriad reasons” you mentioned.
      Again I must plead ignorance of the laws on incentives, I will do some research before I post again. Thanks for your instruction.

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