August 28, 2007

NC to verify benefit of programs

North Carolina has established a new organization to review its many programs, determine if benefits are worth the cost and recommend changes where needed.

The Program Evaluation Division will "delve into how the state tackles wide-scale issues such as education and health care, and target smaller operations to find out whether the money spent has a real effect on the people served" according to the article just released.

The new organization should fill a much needed role to help insure state funded programs are producing value for N.C. taxpayers and to help improve or eliminate programs when needed. North Carolina is the 46th state to implement this type of "watchdog" organization.
News & Observer
August 27, 2007
Dan Kane, Staff Writer

N.C. to verify benefit of programs

North Carolina has auditors who make sure taxpayer money is spent as intended. But what if the spending has little public benefit?

Lawmakers have typically left that question up to the agencies and nonprofit groups that receive the money. But this year, lawmakers decided to create their own watchdog to get those answers: the Program Evaluation Division.

The division will delve into how the state tackles wide-scale issues such as education and health care, and target smaller operations to find out whether the money spent has a real effect on the people served.

"It will not be as focused on management processes and financial controls," said state Sen. Dan Clodfelter, a Charlotte Democrat who sponsored the legislation creating the division. "It will focus on more fundamental questions, such as 'Does this program still serve a fundamental purpose?' " Read more...

August 9, 2007

Perdue's online snafu

Website mix up brings humorous hiccup to Beverly Perdue's quest for Governor in 2008. The following commentary and discussion was posted in the News & Observer...

News & Observer
August 9, 2007
Ryan Teague Beckwith
Blog discussion

Perdue's online snafu

Beverly Perdue will announce this fall

Perdue's online snafu
Beverly Perdue
will announce this fall.

But maybe the lieutenant governor won't announce that she's running for governor. Maybe she'll announce she's running for Senate — and her real name is Tom Allen.

That's one theory anyway. How else to explain the fact that a Google search of her Web site reveals this meta description: "Welcome to the Online Home of Tom Allen for Senate."

The real Tom Allen is a U.S. representative from Maine who's running for his party's nomination to face off against Republican Sen. Susan Collins in 2008.

His Web site was designed by Liberty Concepts, a Democratic-affiliated Web firm. It's likely that Perdue hired the firm, and it used a template from its work for Allen.

Or else, Perdue really is Allen... Original article...

Hat Tip: Blue South

August 4, 2007

Goodyear to get millions for not leaving

UPDATE --- Subsequent to passing of the bill to provide incentives to Goodyear in Fayetteville, Governor Easley decided to veto the bill. Click here to read about the veto and why he did it...

The original blog entry follows...

North Carolina gives away big money to entice companies to set up shop in the state and create jobs. Much has been reported in recent news about the relatively new trend and debates continue to rage about whether the huge incentives are worth the cost. The state offered Dell $242 million in cash and tax breaks to bring 2,000 jobs to the Triad and the jobs pay an average of $28,000 per year.

A big ruckus is still being made over the giveaway to entice Google to the western part of the state. In exchange for incentives, the company would build a $600 million data center near Lenoir and create as many as 210 jobs with average salaries of $48,000. Breaks given by the state would save Google up to $90 million over three decades. Local business recruiters also earmarked up to $4.8 million to the company if it meets job-creation goals. Including incentives offered by local leaders, Google could receive more than $260 million over 30 years.

Just before adjourning the 2007 session, the NC General Assembly approved a new incentive to give Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company up to $40 million over 10 years just to stay in Cumberland County. In return the company has to invest at least $200 million in its factory but it would not have to create any jobs and or have to keep all of the 2,750 existing workers.

Wouldn't it be nice if the Legislators would grant tidy sums to all the state residents that have lost their jobs in recent years due to a declining economic climate and businesses leaving the state and region?

What do you think? Leave your comments below after reading the report on the latest incentive...
News and Observer
August 4, 2007
Jonathan B. Cox, Staff Writer

Goodyear could get $40 million
State offers incentives package if the tiremaker stays in Cumberland County

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. could get as much as $40 million from the state over 10 years if it keeps producing in Fayetteville -- even if it lays off workers.

Before adjourning, the General Assembly approved a new incentive program written to sway one of Cumberland County's largest private employers as it considers factory closings and expansions.

Goodyear would have to invest at least $200 million in its factory to get the assistance. But it would not have to create any jobs or keep all 2,750 existing positions.

"Goodyear has been a wonderful corporate citizen in our part of the state," said Sen. Tony Rand, a Fayetteville Democrat and one of the legislature's most powerful members. "It makes a great deal of sense to keep one of our most important industrial citizens."

The incentive comes as Goodyear trims domestic production of low-end tires in favor of more profitable models.

Last year, the company said that it would stop making about 10 brands of tires -- some made in Fayetteville -- sold under the names of wholesale customers. Since that time, the company has also announced plans to end tire production at a factory in Canada and close a Texas plant.

Goodyear's decisions angered unionized workers, who went on strike last year. Its actions have also sparked fears in several U.S. communities, where leaders worry that they could lose a major employer.

Officials in Alabama and Tennessee have cobbled together incentives packages to entice Goodyear to upgrade plants instead of shutting them down.

"Everybody spends a lot of money to bring these kinds of plants in," said Jim Cooper, executive director of the Obion County Joint Economic Development Council in Tennessee. Goodyear employs about 2,500 at a plant there in Union City.

"Not a whole lot of emphasis is put on keeping them," he said. Read more...