March 23, 2015

Well, that gosh darn Berger and those pesky fiscal conservatives in the Senate are raising questions again.

In a news conference, they questioned why 90% of state economic development incentive dollars go to Raleigh, Durham and Charlotte. Agreeing with a House idea, they endorsed a corporate income tax change needed to recruit a long rumored auto manufacturer. They also offered millions to refill the fund the Governor emptied giving money to companies moving to North Carolina or at least to Raleigh, Durham and Charlotte.

But the Senators didn’t bite on a grab bag of tax breaks for jet fuel or restoring old buildings. And Senators also proposed the Legislature keep its commitment to lower taxes for all businesses.

However, the fur really flew when Senators Berger and Brown proposed a cap on economic development grants going to wealthier urban counties and more emphasis on jobs for the rest of the state.

Never wanting to agree with Berger, the man the left loves to hate, the News and Observer cried that even asking questions threatens our chance at an automobile factory. The paper declared “NC legislature’s divide could harm hunt for automaker.”( 3/22/15)

In other words, no time for questions.

My, my, how the News and Observer’s principles change. Before Senator Berger questioned incentives, the News and Observer questioned their effectiveness.

In fact, back when Jim Hunt was offering millions to Mercedes, the News and Observer said “It’s an inexact science, this predicting game, however, and it’s fair to wonder if South Carolina, for example, will ever recoup the $130 million incentive package it used to land a BMW plant near Greer. States need some leeway to court big employers, but there is such a thing as giving away the store.”(9/20/93)

And when Mike Easley chased Dell with big bucks, the paper said “North Carolina needs a multi-faceted approach to building a 21st century economy, one that invests heavily in the education of its people. To do that, the state can’t afford to follow every herd of states hunting mega-projects, dubbed “buffalo” because there are fewer and fewer of them. Less buffalo hunting and more well-paying jobs for rural areas would be a refreshing change.”(7/24/05)

Could Phil Berger have said it any better?