Letter: If the basics are in place, incentives aren't needed

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 28, 2007

We won Toyota, and it cost us $500,000. This will hopefully bring 40 jobs and a $22 million capital investment to Rowan County. We also now know that 25 or more of those jobs will be filled via company transfers rather than hiring. The integrity of the EDC should be publicly reviewed at a later date.

I was in industry for over 36 years and have used incentives. This is a nice way of saying we solicited bribes. An incentive package comes into the discussion when there isn’t a clear winner and a “little sweetener” has to be thrown in.

We are being told that we have to “play the game” because everyone else is. I’ve seen people interviewed after they took part in a riot and they use the same language.

I believe Rowan County will have to continue using incentives to woo big businesses because we are behind the curve. We will have to continue to apologize to the small businesses that are well established and ask the taxpayers to hang on until the incentive (bribe) is paid off. If we had our act together, businesses would be approaching us, and we could pick and choose which ones fit into our community.

How do we get past this and get back on the high road? It takes leadership and planning. Well-run businesses are always looking for locations that offer three things:

1. A skilled and motivated workforce

2. A safe local with clean air and water.

3. A community that consistently demonstrates it can balance priorities rather than bowing to the most vocal special interest.

I learned in business and in life that we can move ahead or fall behind, but we cannot remain idle. It is time for Rowan County to decide in which direction it wishes to move.

— Eric Marsh

China Grove