It may not be the Hatfields and McCoys yet, but when it comes to money for jobs incentives, Republicans are going at one another pretty hard over who’s at fault for the state’s losses to South Carolina over auto plants. Their only focus should be to live up to their much-touted promises of a “Carolina Comeback” and job creation they’ve been promising for years but not delivering.
Gov. Pat McCrory’s favorite incentives program, the Job Development Investment Grants, is short of money, and now John Skvarla, secretary of commerce, says the legislature is letting down the state by not approving more money for JDIG, as it’s known. Skvarla blames the lack of incentive money for the loss of a Volvo plant to South Carolina, where $150 million in incentives were offered. That’s not the first time North Carolina has lost out to the neighboring state. Mercedes Benz is locating a van plant near the Volvo site, and South Carolina already has a BMW facility and a Boeing aircraft plant.
But critics of JDIG say that too much of the money was spent on a single project near Charlotte and that it simply hasn’t been effective. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley seemed to de-emphasize incentives, pointing instead to the fact that South Carolina community colleges have a fast-track worker-training program for companies that need it and that other auto plants helped draw Volvo to a state with a skilled workforce.
Ouch. And Republicans in North Carolina are fussing with each other. Skvarla wants more incentive money; the state House is ready to give it to him. But in the Senate, blustery Sen. Bob Rucho of Matthews says he wants some answers as to “How many jobs came from incentives?” He also wants evidence that, “Commerce is doing the most efficient and effective job.”
Double ouch. And while Republicans fight and run around like the Keystone Cops, North Carolinians remain in need of jobs. Lots of promises were made and have yet to be kept. Again, the GOP shows us how different is campaigning from governing.