Job credits could be a lesser evil

by Jim Longworth

Last week the NC House of Representatives passed a bill that would change incentive programs by leveling the playing field between economically strong counties and those that are less viable.

Under the new law, companies that build in one of the state’s 40 most distressed counties would receive a tax credit of $12,500 for every job created. That compares to only $750 per job for the 20 most productive counties.

While I am against any form of incentives for the private sector, this new plan is a more palatable alternative to the obscene amounts of cash grants and other perks that Gov. Mike Easley has been giving away over the past two years.

This new plan could be attractive to companies that might otherwise pass over a Surry, Stokes or Yadkin in favor of a Forsyth, Guilford or Wake.

Of course, there still needs to be guarantees in place, as well as penalties for companies that lay-off workers after having received tax credits for hiring them.

But I suppose that if the state is going to continue in the hand-out business, it’s better that their hand be extended to rural areas that need jobs the most.

Still, I wish we could do away with government freebies altogether, and just let companies operate on their own steam.’ But what’s the incentive in that?

Jim Longworth is host of “Triad Today” which can be seen Friday mornings at 6:30 a.m. on ABC 45 (cable channel 7), and Sunday nights at 10 p.m. on UPN 48 (cable channel 14).