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State cancels multiple incentive packages, after companies fail to meet hiring goals

Legislative leaders say they don’t cater incentives for one particular employer

N.C. legislative leaders Rep. Tim Moore and Sen. Phil Berger wouldn't confirm rumors of Apple planning to locate a large facility in North Carolina. They also said speculation in the media is not helpful toward recruitment.
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N.C. legislative leaders Rep. Tim Moore and Sen. Phil Berger wouldn't confirm rumors of Apple planning to locate a large facility in North Carolina. They also said speculation in the media is not helpful toward recruitment.

In its first meeting of the new year, the state’s Economic Investment Committee ended several grants it had previously awarded to companies during the administration of former Gov. Bev Perdue.

The companies Ralph Lauren, Inmar and Innovative Emergency Management (IEM) — all of which were awarded grants in 2012 or earlier — had their incentive agreements with the state cancelled because they failed to meet hiring goals.

The state pays incentive agreements in yearly chunks, so companies only receive money when they meet certain milestones, which are usually based around hiring and investments.

The agreement with Ralph Lauren, an international fashion brand with distribution, research and development, and customer service offices in High Point, dated back to 2012, when the company agreed to create 500 new jobs for an incentive that could have been worth up to $2.5 million. At the time of the announcement, according to the Commerce news release, Ralph Lauren had 1,400 employees in High Point.

But in recent years, the company has had layoffs, the Charlotte Observer previously reported. And Ralph Lauren now has around 1,200 full-time employees in High Point, according to the Commerce Department.

Inmar, a technology company in Winston-Salem, had promised in 2012 to create around 200 jobs. The company would have received an incentive worth up to $4.2 million if it had met all of its goals. The company was required to retain 937 employees in North Carolina as well as increase its headcount in Winston-Salem, but it didn’t meet its hiring requirement, according to Commerce.

The company still employs more than 900 people in the state, according to Commerce.

“The company was not in compliance on its new job creation target, and their ramp up (or base period), which had been extended, was at its end,” said Commerce spokesman David Rhoades. “The grant did require a fairly large number of existing employees to be retained as well.”

The IEM incentive dates back to 2009, when the risk management consulting firm moved its headquarters from Louisiana to Morrisville. At the time, the company said it would create 430 jobs in return for an incentive that could’ve yielded $9 million over 12 years.

However, the company only has 113 employees here now, according to Commerce.

All three companies did end up receiving some money from the grants for reaching some yearly goals. Inmar received one grant payment of $126,674 in 2012, Ralph Lauren received three grant payments totaling $451,409 and IEM received one grant payment for $99,552 for 2011, Rhoades said.

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