By Matthew Burns

Raleigh, N.C. — A bill advancing in the Senate would redirect some state business recruitment incentives away from the Triangle to help boost economic development in poorer areas of the state.

The state often provides money to companies looking to move an operation or expand to entice them to come to North Carolina instead of setting up shop elsewhere. The incentives come through the Job Development Investment Grant, or JDIG, program, which refunds some of the state withholding taxes for new jobs over a period of years if annual benchmarks are met, or the One North Carolina Fund, which is a grant matched by local funds that likewise is handed out only if certain job growth or investment targets are met.

Sen. Harry Brown, R-Onslow, said incentives were supposed to help rural counties in the state attract jobs, but they have done the opposite, with a few urban counties soaking up most of the available funds.

A WRAL News analysis of the $859.4 million in state incentive money handed out from 2008 to 2015 shows that $660.8 million went to firms locating in the 20 wealthiest counties statewide, while only $104.8 million went to companies in the 40 poorest counties.

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