New business is welcome, but state politics are not

First Posted: 9/1/2009

Tomorrow night, the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing regarding a slate of incentives the city may offer to a proposed business coming to town.
Thats a good thing, both that a new business is looking at locating in Mount Airy, and that the commissioners are seeking public opinion regarding economic incentives they might offer to the company.
The bad thing is that the public hearing is mostly a sham, because no one knows what the business will be.
Thats not a criticism directed at the board. Essentially, city officials are being limited in what they can say about the proposed business because of state officials in Raleigh.
North Carolina is also offering some economic incentives, which is appropriated and definitely appreciated in these parts. But the same state economic development officials are also demanding they be allowed to make the official announcement, and that local folks be kept in the dark.
That puts Mount Airy leaders in a bind the law demands they hold the public hearing, but its a meaningless gesture because no one can present an informed opinion on the proposed business.
This is a case, it would seem, of some people merely doing the job they are paid to do in this case, North Carolina economic development officials but demanding they get more than their share of the public glory, and in the process, making it impossible for local residents to have any say in the process.

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