Extending North Carolina's Jobs Incentives Program 7-22-05
Two of North Carolina's economic incentives tools would stay in effect for at least two more years in a bill headed to Gov. Mike Easley's desk following final legislative approval earlier this week. The House agreed by a final vote of 79-34 on Wednesday in favor of extending the William S. Lee Act and the Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) program. The Senate has also approved the bill.
The legislation would allow a four-year extension for two kinds of projects in Lee Act development zones, an insert designed to attract the Cheesecake Factory to Rocky Mount and a Dole Foods plant to Gaston County. The Cheesecake Factory is expected to create up to 500 new jobs and the Dole plant could create up to 3,000 new jobs
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. The JDIG program has helped the state to create more than 10,000 new jobs since 2001.
Opponents of the bill argued the extensions should not have been so long and argued that the Lee Act needs significant revision. The bill considered by the House had not been deliberated in committee, and instead appeared before the House as a substitute for an entirely different matter than the House had sent to the Senate. The Lee Act has received significant criticism since it was first enacted in 1996.