Rusty McMahon: EDC Truth

The Daily Dispatch reported recently that the Economic Development Commission (EDC)  Board is considering not renewing its membership to the Research Triangle Regional Partnership.

Director Stuart Litvin and others argued that Vance county has gotten absolutely nothing for our investment of tens of thousands of dollars. Said Litvin, “It’s been the same story over the past 20-some years.”

While they are seeking truth, there is another fact they should acknowledge – their own economic development record. It is dismal. Their costly meddling in the private sector almost always ends in failure. The only “successes” they can claim are instances of redistributing our tax dollars to businesses that were going to expand anyway, with or without taxpayer help. One word describes what they have done – cronyism. From Owen Kugel’s stone soup to Downtown Development to Paint Reclamation International to Semprius, their record reeks of special favors to local, well connected property owners and developers.

They have even redefined EDC success. No longer is it creating jobs. Instead, it is keeping the jobs that are already here. Government and quasi-government boards do neither. Independent businessmen and women do.

A couple of members, Terry Garrison and Andrea Harris, want to keep wasting thousands of our tax dollars each year on the Partnership. Living on wasted money, grants, and ill-advised infrastructure loans has become a way of life in Vance County. The problem with freeloading is that someday the host will not or cannot continue to feed the parasite.

If you ask for something you did not earn, you are a beggar. If you take something you did not earn, you are a thief. If you expect something you did not earn, you are a socialist. There is nothing lower.

Not only do we need better leaders. Our kids need better role models.

Rusty McMahon

Kittrell, NC