I have been very supportive of Howard Coble and generally think he is doing a fine job representing his constituents, but his support for HR 5034 borders on the outrageous.
The stated purpose of the bill is “To support State based alcohol regulation, to clarify evidentiary rules for alcohol matters, to ensure the collection of all alcohol taxes, and for other purposes.” Other purposes? Apparently, among the other purposes Coble has in mind is protecting the profits of Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America and some of his other large campaign contributors at the expense of NC wineries. According to the N&R, Coble said, “If the distribution phase of the three-legged stool* is eliminated, it would be a jobs killer in North Carolina.” However, if the “distribution phase” is eliminated, small wineries, brewers and probably liquor producers as well will be able to sell their products more widely to the general public, including via the internet. Interestingly enough, the N&R article quotes someone who would be unhappy to no longer be able to have Texas wine shipped in but doesn’t talk to any wineries about the impact it could have on their ability to ship NC wine out of state.
Note also that the legislation decrees that alcohol is different from other products and must be regulated more heavily to keep people from over consuming it (how’s that working for them anyway?) as well as to ensure the collection of alcohol taxes. To be fair, the statue does also state that “State or territorial regulations may not facially discriminate, without justification, against out-of-state producers of alcoholic beverages in favor of in-state producers.” This seems to imply that states that allow instate shipping of wine must also allow wines from out of state to be shipped in as well.
* “Three-legged stool” refers to the system, implemented after Prohibition, whereby sellers of alcoholic beverages are not allowed to sell to the general public (or even restaurants) but must first sell to a distributor who then resells the product to restaurants, stores, etc. This means that alcoholic beverages cost more to the end consumer and also, in many cases, that small wineries, brewers, etc cannot sell their product outside of their own facilities at all because they cannot find a distributor.
From the N&R. LabCorp, a company headquartered in Burlington, is requesting $373,000 in incentives from Guilford County. Apparently this is “in exchange for 373 new jobs and a $3 million investment.”
If you allow bullies to call the shots in your life, you get abused over and over again. This seems to be a similar situation. Can you say “Chicago-style politics?” A shakedown by a corporation? Is this the sort of corporate citizen we want in our community?
According to the N&R, “If commissioners approve offering incentives, the company could still look elsewhere to locate.” I’m sure the plan is to shop around whatever incentives we offer, with the hopes of getting a better deal. In May, LabCorp opened a giant new facility in Kannapolis “one of the largest operations of its type in the world” and already has plans to double it. But maybe for the right price they would grow in Greensboro instead? Doubtful.
According to the N&R, 905 people are going to lose their jobs. Dell was given a $242 million incentives package with a law especially created for them in a special session. Didn’t they do something very similar just this past session for tire manufacturers?? Is Dell going to give back the tax rebates that the state forked over to them now that they are closing the plant? According to the N&R, Bev Perdue said in a statement: “The Dell plant closure shows why we must continue to fight for economic recovery here in North Carolina.” WHAT? Throwing money at big business didn’t work before, why should we believe it will work in the future?
Robert Bell at the N&R reports that the Wyndham Championship Golf tournament is close to selling all its corporate sponsorships.
Why do we care?
It’s good news when Greensboro figures prominently in positive national news stories. We need good press because the PGA could decide to pull the tournament and head somewhere else. When we look like we have money, we attract money, without having to bribe businesses with incentives.
When NEW business is created or locates here, that actually aids long-term job growth for our citizens (unlike government “stimulus” , which may redistribute money for temporary work on a “shovel ready” project, but does not actually create real jobs that ADD to our local economy).