In response to the Feb. 25 news article “More incentives on the table” about the recently filed economic development bill: Discretionary incentives can be a useful tool for promoting community economic development.
Among economic development scholars, they are often preferable to across-the-board tax cuts, precisely because they give economic developers greater bargaining power to draw out tangible gains for communities and workers. But for these benefits to transpire, there needs to be strong performance controls, such as wage and job creation standards and local hiring provisions. There also needs to be strong involvement by sector initiatives and institutions that can help developers target incentives to the right projects and anchor incentivized firms once they locate to our state.
We can argue over whether we need incentives until we are blue in the face. But given the strong likelihood that incentive use will continue and even increase in North Carolina, let’s use our time and legislation now to also focus on how they are used and governed and to whose benefit.