The failure of 1224

Not sure what exactly to make of the failure a few minutes ago of House Bill 1224.

One thing I do know. The economic development part of the bill would have provided some $13 million (depending on which article one reads) to extend and expand natural gas service to Canton, home of the Evergreen Packaging paper mill formerly operated by Champion International. Local news sources, including the Asheville Citizen-Times, are portraying this as a vote against the mountains.

Recent reports claim that nearly 60% of the state's economic development money over the past 5 years has gone to three counties: Mecklenburg, Wake, and Durham. Headline stories have noted $100 million to MetLife, $85 million to the Carolina Panthers, and $36 million to Sealed Air.

The paper mill in Canton employs 1,000, with much of the workforce represented by a union. While not perfect, the mill has made great strides over the past two decades in cleaning up its act. Switching to natural gas boilers would improve air quality in Haywood and surrounding counties, although I'm sure there are many who would engage me in debate over that.

With all that said, it is indeed puzzling that legislators on the right are rushing headlong to literally push natural gas out of the ground, but don't seem interested in allowing us to use it.

Comments

Ya'll are too uppity out there in the mountains

Get in line and shut your traps. Raleigh knows best.

Where did you larn to talk?

The correct sentence is "You'uns is too uppity...."

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The measure of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR

I haven't laughed outloud in a long time

because I'm not much of a laugher.

This one did the trick.

And one other linguistic matter...

"You'uns" is one syllable.

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The measure of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR

Help!!!

I don't claim to know all the politics between the House and Senate, between rural Republicans and urban Republicans, between Berger and Tillis, etc. I also don't claim to know much about this supposed deal that matched up this bill with two other bills in some sort of package deal that was concocted behind closed doors.

So any help from BlueNC readers on this, including some guidance on whether I should be glad or disappointed that 1224 failed, is most welcome!

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The measure of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR

Still trying to figure it out myself

I was really concerned earlier because one of the reasons the right wanted it to fail is because it had an extension in it for green energy tax credits. But after looking into the issue, it appears those tax credits won't actually expire until December 2015, so there's a little time on that.

One thing I will say about big omnibus bills like this: there are usually things to love and hate about them, regardless of your ideological perspective.

If you're not disappointed now

you will be sooner or later.

There are always unintended consequences. Always. The only question is how destructive they are. The GOP's shoot-from-the-hip approach to policy making greatly increases the odds of more damage, sooner. Every now and then they might get lucky, but I haven't seen that happen in two years.

Everyone should be glad H1224 failed

Don't take my word, read it for yourself:
http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/BillLookUp/BillLookUp.pl?Session=2013&Bil...

Scroll all the way down and read the proposed conference committee substitute at the bottom.

This version of the bill removed any lingering accountability from the state's economic development slush funds.

No matter where you are in the state (rich county, poor county, mountains, coast) or whether you love or hate corporate "incentives," you should want some minimum level of accountability (or clawbacks or whatever) over these funds given to lure jobs.

H1224 in this form did not have them, and we should be grateful the state didn't throw $150-$200 million dollars to already profitable corporations with no way of being sure we as the state's taxpayers get what we paid the corporations for (jobs, property, infrastructure or anything else).

There are incentive structures that can and do work. This version was not one of them.

 

Can we both celebrate and commiserate?

I certainly understand the importance of clawbacks, to the extent they are useful to convince companies to honor their commitments when they accept incentives. And I certainly appreciate your pointing this out as a flaw in the bill.

That said, I live in Haywood County, and mourn the fact that economic development money seems to be geared toward bribing corporate executives to relocate their corporate headquarters to urban centers, rather than toward maintaining what's left of good-paying manufacturing jobs in our rural areas.

So perhaps we can celebrate the failure of those provisions of the omnibus bill that are harmful, while bemoaning the failure of provisions that would have been helpful.

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The measure of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR

It's not a rural/urban thing. It's an oligarch/citizen thing.

Corporate oligarchs dangle the mere promise of jobs (or removal of jobs) before towns, counties, states, and even the federal government and demand the highest bribe in the form of tax credits or even direct grants (!!!) -- thereby sucking the public treasury of money that could pay for overall infrastructure, education, and quality of life improvements that would bring true, sound and stable job creators to given areas.

It is long past time for urban and rural areas to quit giving wildly profitable private corporations money from the public treasury as a temporary bribe -- until they demand another temporary bribe.

Make a good community with sound infrastructure, an educated workforce, efficient rule of law, and sufficient quality of life, and you'll have stable employers.

Keep bribing oligarchs to stay in your community, and they'll stay... until they get a better bribe -- maybe from you, maybe from someone else.

 

Infrastructure vs bribery

I agree with your observations.

The $12 or $13 million for Evergreen Packaging was actually to go to PSNC Energy to extend/expand natural gas lines to Canton to provide sufficient volume/capacity to allow the mill to switch from coal-fired boilers to natural gas fired boilers.

That looks to me like a win-win-win.

Of course, there are those in the General Assembly who would punish any company whose workforce is unionized, as are the workers at the Canton paper mill.

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The measure of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR

The original version of H1224 might have been OK

This is the piece for natural gas to Evergreen I believe you are referring to.

But Rep. Joe Sam Queen hit the nail on the head in your linked article.

Rep. Joe Sam Queen, D-Haywood, said he did not like all parts of the bill but he joined a handful of other Democrats in voting for it. He said the incentive for the mill should have been considered on its own, not loaded with other factors.

"It was just incompetence on the part of (Speaker Thom) Tillis and incompetence on the part of Presnell," he said.

Rep. Presnell allowed her original bill to flounder in the Senate after passing the House with little opposition. It was then hijacked and morphed into something grotesque.

The bill history is here. Only 10 people voted against the original version of the bill. H1224 wasn't that contentious then.

The Senate held the original Evergreen bill hostage. House Speaker Tillis and Rep. Presnell couldn't or wouldn't do anything about it.

If people are looking to blame something for the failure of the Evergreen stuff:
1) Blame the Senate
2) Blame Tillis
3) Blame Presnell

In that order, and in descending level of blame.

 

Joe Sam Queen

I'll verify this with Joe Sam on Sunday at church.

I'm good with blaming Presnell, who trails Dean Hicks by 10 points right now. Presnell has not made many friends in the western end of her district, having already blocked the friendly annexation of Lake Junaluska into the town of Waynesville.

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The measure of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR

Presnell's incompetence

could actually be an improvement upon her previous claim to infamy, that being intolerance.

Presnell equated Islam to terrorism and added, “We just need to start taking a stand on our religious freedom or it will be whisked away from us.”

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"What I see from the folks who are opposing our agenda is whining coming from losers." -- Thom Tillis

It's worth noting that the Evergreen stuff may still be in play

Today (Wed, Aug 20) the House is using Senate Bill 3 (bill history linked here) and a convoluted parliamentary mess to possibly bring back the millions for Evergreen.

 

Yeah, I saw a rather ambiguous

Facebook post by Zeb Smathers earlier hinting at this.

And just to make it clear to everyone reading this, I do not oppose converting coal-burning power plants to natural gas-fired plants. It looks like we're not gaining much on the carbon emissions front, but any reduction in atmospheric Mercury and Sulfur Dioxide (and all the other crap coal contains) emissions is a win in my book.

Of course, there is a whole 'nother argument about water pollution from paper mills, but I'm going to shelve that for the time being.

Roll call in comments

Art Pope called the shots

Civitas and Locked-in-the-John were hitting on all cylinders decrying "corporate welfare". The organizations and Frannie all were tweeting instructions to their minions. The "real conservatives" sat up and took notice and voted against the bill, like their master Pope Art I told them to. Civitas intimated how they were "watching" this bill (code for "if you want the Pope family campaign cash again, you better vote how we want").

Of course the complexities of the Senate's stupid intertwining of three bills didn't help.

But Art Pope wanted something bad, and that is how you get such divisive GOP infighting. Tillis was the big loser, but Art doesn't particularly care. Art knows what he wants.

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"What I see from the folks who are opposing our agenda is whining coming from losers." -- Thom Tillis

Looks like Canton will get expanded natural gas service...

..with the passage of SB 3

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The measure of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR