Pricey Harrison

Friday, July 15, 2005

Extending North Carolina's Jobs Incentives Program

The House and Senate are working to reach an agreement on an extension of the state's primary economic incentives program, which could help the state land several new employers and thousands of jobs in the coming years. The William S. Lee Act, passed in 1996, is due to expire at the end of this year. The bill being considered would extend it for two years and makes no changes. The Senate approved a committee substitute to House Bill 1004 on Wednesday. However, the House wanted to make minor changes to the bill, so conferees were appointed from both chambers to work out a compromise.

The Lee Act currently provides credits of $500 to $12,500 for every job created by certain industries in the state. There are also credits for installing plant machinery and conducting worker training, research, and development. The bill also extends by two years the state's Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) program, which gives back to companies cash grants equal to a portion of state withholding taxes generated by their jobs and has created more than 10,000 new jobs since 2001.

Several newspapers reported this week that several companies are considering a move to or an expansion in North Carolina, which would help several counties with high unemployment rates. The Cheesecake Factory is expected to create 70 jobs and invest about $12 million to get the bakery running by January. The bakery would be the company's first outside of California. The bakery is expected to employ a total of 500 by 2012.


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