North Carolina state government graphic

But his grand “N.C. Competes Act” has stalled in a state Senate committee after breezing through the House more than three weeks ago — blocked by the Senate’s own proposal for boosting economic development.

House Bill 117 would modify tax codes for companies that spend $1 billion to build a plant and would create a special $20 million fund to help a community run water lines, electricity or other major utilities to develop a site for such a company.

The governor said in a written statement that this fund is “designed to attract major manufacturing projects, such as an auto production plant.”

The House bill would increase the annual limit on state job development grants for companies from $22.5 million to $45 million through the end of 2015.

But Senate leaders have proposed their own bill that offers tax cuts for all corporations and would cap job development grants at $30 million.

Senate Bill 338 was filed March 18, passed March 19 and was working its way through committees on March 25.

Meanwhile, the House sent its bill to the Senate on March 5 and it passed a first Senate reading on March 9. It was referred to the rules committee, withdrawn and resubmitted to the finance committee on March 23.

House Bill 117’s $20 million “Site Infrastructure Development Fund” proposal is similar to a “deal closer” fund that the state secretary of commerce wants to use in conjunction with the new public/private Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, which was spun out of the commerce department in 2014.

The fund is a more clearly defined version of an item that was lost in a complex trio of bills — dealing with such subjects as salaries for teaching assistants — that the General Assembly ultimately defeated in August 2014.

The fund also would provide the missing piece of a funding puzzle for the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite that Randolph County and regional economic developers have been working to develop for nearly three years.

Local economic developers have said the cost to develop a site for an automaker is roughly $100 million. Randolph County and other groups are buying roughly 1,300 acres for up to $30 million.

The city of Greensboro has offered, but not approved, about $22 million to build water lines to the site.

Greensboro officials have hinted that the city would not ultimately foot the bill for that expense.

The $20 million state infrastructure fund would be one way to reimburse Greensboro if it’s available.

Contact Richard M. Barron at (336) 373-7371, and follow @BarronBizNR on Twitter.

Recommended for you

Load comments