Incentives lawsuit could be dismissed Jonathan B. Cox, Staff Writer A Wake County judge will decide next week whether to go forward with a lawsuit challenging $279 million in incentives offered Dell in exchange for a computer plant.
After a full day of testimony Wednesday, Judge Robert Hobgood of Wake County Superior Court postponed ruling on the case with broad implications for the way North Carolina recruits companies. The suit questions whether tax credits, grants and other money state and local governments offer to woo new employers violate provisions of the state and federal constitutions.
The Dell agreement, offered after General Assembly approval in 2004, has taken center stage in the larger incentives debate. After winning the perks, the Texas company agreed to build a factory in Winston-Salem that could employ 1,500 people. It opened in October.
"This is the largest incentives package in our state’s history," Jeanette Doran, an attorney with the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law, an advocacy group for limited government that filed the legal challenge, told Hobgood. "If it goes uncontested, it could serve as a template for generations to come."
She and other attorneys with the group, including Executive Director Bob Orr, a former N.C. Supreme Court justice, argued that the incentives were discriminatory because they gave advantages to one company that others didn’t get. They also contend that tax credits wrongly shifted more of the tax burden to individuals in Forsyth County. (more…)