Senator Berger blames Perdue’s “Pay-to-Play Politics” for losing “Project Soccer”
RALEIGH, NC (NEWS RELEASE) — (THE FOLLOWING IS A NEWS RELEASE FROM SENATOR PHIL BEREGER’S OFFICE REGARDING THE CONTINENTAL TIRE PROJECT THAT COULD HAVE BEEN BUILT IN BRUNSWICK COUNTY BUT IS INSTEAD HEADED FOR SOUTH CAROLINA):
Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) responded Thursday to news reports confirming Continental Tire’s decision to build a major facility in Sumter County, S.C. instead of Brunswick County, N.C. North Carolina’s commerce secretary has scheduled a news conference to discuss the decision at 11:30 a.m. in Brunswick County. The decision followed news reports that a Democrat state lawmaker and major donors to Gov. Beverly Perdue would have received a financial windfall if Continental Tire had chosen the executive branch’s proposed site.
Below is a statement from Senator Berger:
“We worked in good faith with the Perdue administration for six months to develop a responsible proposal to attract these jobs. We went to great lengths to reach an agreement, but we also had several serious concerns – including the governor’s plan that would line the pockets of her political supporters. Since August, we’ve tried to convince her administration that this deal reeked of cronyism – a fact they chose to ignore. Now, pay-to-play politics has cost our state more than 1,000 new jobs.
“This is embarrassing for North Carolina. It’s this kind of incompetence and unethical behavior that has disgraced Democrat politician after Democrat politician in North Carolina. And we will not allow the state to do business like this anymore.”
Attached are a timeline of key events and a Sept. 19 letter from Berger to Perdue reiterating his concerns about the executive branch’s proposal.
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The final word on “Project Soccer” is expected this afternoon, and it won’t likely be good news for North Carolina. Continental Tire is expected to announce plans for a plant in South Carolina that could bring as many as 1,700 jobs, the Associated Press report.
Meanwhile, North Carolina Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco is in Brunswick County this morning. A news release from the Commerce Department says Crisco will meet with leaders in Brunswick County to discuss the status of Project Soccer. He will talk with reporters after the closed meeting.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley yesterday announced plans for major economic development announcement in Sumter County for 2:30 p.m. today. County officials said last week the German tire company would invest up to $1 billion on a plant there, but state officials have not confirmed the details.
State lawmakers have said North Carolina would likely lose out on the deal that would have brought the factory to a site in Brunswick County near the Columbus County, because South Carolina was willing to front millions of dollars in incentives. North Carolina’s offer reportedly would have spread those incentives out over time. Rep. Dewey Hill (D-20th District) said there was the possibility of matching South Carolina’s deal, but Hill said State Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger would not agree to the terms.
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