As North Carolina legislators gear up for a new session, Governor Pat McCrory says economic incentives are his Number One priority.
State lawmakers from New Hanover County agree with the urgency of the Governor’s position, but they aren’t sold on whether such ideas will gain traction in Chambers.
Without competitive tools in the form of economic incentives, Governor Pat McCrory says he comes up empty-handed in negotiations with companies. An announcement earlier this week by Mercedes-Benz threw the urgency of McCrory’s position into stark relief: the luxury carmaker is locating in Atlanta courtesy of generous incentives from Georgia.
But Representative Susi Hamilton, a Democrat from New Hanover County, says McCrory had an opportunity to get this done in the recent short session.
"What he couldn’t do was get the more conservative members of the House and the Senate to go along with the incentive programs that he was proposing. So we closed down. We shut down session and there was discussion about the Governor bringing us back for a special session in order to address this, which he chose very publicly not to do. And the reason he cited was that there was still no consensus among the bodies. So my question is, ‘what’s changed?’"
Republican Representative Ted Davis says the division between the House and Senate on key issues was the reason behind the conversion of the film incentive from a tax rebate to a grant fund that industry advocates consider non-competitive. However, Davis says he's not about to let the issue drop. The House supported his amendment last year, which would have renewed the tax rebate. It was the Senate where the Davis film proposal died.
"One thing that will work to our advantage is the fact that every two years, a different chamber presents the budget first. This particular session, the House will present the budget first. So I think that is very advantageous if we can carry on the momentum in the House to address the film industry."
State leaders convene next Wednesday to elect officers. The work gets underway January 28th.
This discussion was part of the January 7th edition of CoastLine, which airs every Wednesday at noon on HQR News 91.3 FM. To listen to the program in its entirety, follow this link: