Designed to boost rural counties, incentives buoy wealthy ones instead

Designed to boost rural counties, incentives buoy wealthy ones instead

Designed to boost rural counties, incentives buoy wealthy ones instead

December 22, 2019

An analysis by Tyler Dukes, a reporter at Raleigh’s WRAL-TV, finds that 60 percent of the benefits of the state’s two largest financial incentive programs during the past 10 years have accrued to companies locating in the state’s largest two counties. About $750 million in grants under the Jobs Development and Investment Grant (JDIG) and One North Carolina programs from January 2009 through June 2019 went to grantees in Mecklenburg and Wake counties.

Dukes’ analysis lumped the two programs together despite their different guidelines and objectives. Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown found the results perplexing. “The reason incentive programs were created… was to really help the poor parts of the state,” Brown says. “It wasn’t to help the counties that were already doing well.” Commerce Secretary Tony Copeland believes JDIG’s value as a fiscal policy tool brings benefits to the entire state, regardless of the North Carolina community in which projects locate. “By and large, many of the higher paying jobs go to urban areas, so from a public policy point of view, it’s very successful,” Copeland says.

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