(The Center Square) – North Carolina was highlighted in a Center for Economic Accountability report showing that 2022 will be the most expensive year ever for economic development programs.

According to the CEA, the combination of state and local governments fueled by federal COVID-19 funds and the upcoming midterm elections in November has created three times as many billion-dollar grant deals as any previous year in history.

“America’s governors and mayors are shoveling in billion-dollar corporate welfare mega-deals this year at a pace that would normally take them a decade or more to achieve,” said John C. Mozena, president of the CEA, in a press release. “Under pressure from voters to ‘do something’ about the economy and with their budgets deceptively filled with one-time federal dollars, they are making short-sighted but costly decisions that will impose enormous costs on our communities for decades to come. to come.”

The CEA reported nine corporate grant deals worth $1 billion or more this year. Over the past 40 years, the CEA has found 25 economic development grants worth $1 billion or more, with amounts adjusted for inflation.

CEA reported that consultancy Site Selection Group saw a 13.4% increase in the number of projects funded nationwide compared to 2020, but also saw a 94.8% increase in value. total of announced economic incentives granted.

“Before COVID upended state budgets, the best estimates were that the total price of state and local economic development grants across America was about $100 billion a year, which was enough for the time to fully fund the 11 smallest state budgets combined,” Mozena said. “With this unprecedented explosion of billion-dollar mega-deals, we have gone from a simple economic development crisis to a real political disaster.”

The CEA described North Carolina as a “perfect example of a mega grant trend in action” and said it broke its previous record for “the largest economic development grant in history” over the course of each of the past three years.

In 2020, North Carolina provided a $450 million grant to Centene, a Fortune 500 company managing Medicare, Medicaid and other health insurance plans, for a new headquarters in Charlotte. Last month, Centene canceled the project due to its workforce now working from home and retaining its headquarters in St. Louis.

In 2021, the CEA awarded North Carolina the “worst economic development deal of the year” for providing $845 million to Apple’s research and development campus in the Research Triangle, a nine-county region. including Raleigh, Durham and Cary close to three major universities. —University of North Carolina, North Carolina State University and Duke University.

This year, $1.2 billion in incentives were given to VinFast, a Vietnamese electric vehicle company, to build manufacturing facilities in Chatham County.

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