The Wake County Economic Development Department wants to implement an innovative policy that would provide incentives to businesses to make decisions that benefit vulnerable groups across the county.
In a presentation at a Wake County Board Commissioners work session today, executive director Michael Haley explained that there are currently fifty-two active projects that would create jobs or expand businesses in the area.
But Danya Perry, manager of equitable economic development, explained that there are still many areas for improvement. Perry offered a few ideas for developing an incentive program to spread economic prosperity to communities that are typically left out.
The proposed initiative may offer incentives for businesses that expand into areas that do not usually experience economic growth. It includes a recommendation that would require an expanding company to create a minimum of twenty jobs, a living wage, and a minimum investment of $2 million in order to be eligible to receive a 35 percent reduction in new tax growth.
The Economic Development Department created a vulnerability index to identify areas of the county that are not benefiting from the economic and population growth seen in less vulnerable regions. Poverty, quality of education, and degrees of unemployment were all factors in the analysis, which serves as a guide to show which regions would be eligible for business incentives.
Proponents say that Wake County Economic Development’s project is relatively uncomplicated and simple for businesses to understand and implement. Economic Development is still working on the specifics, but its new incentives could provide an inventive way to spread some of the wealth that currently primarily accumulates in a few lucrative areas of the county.