Last week I wrote about Sen. Bill Rabon (R-Brunswick) and Rep. Susi Hamilton (D-New Hanover) financially benefiting from movies being shot in the area even as they also support MORE taxpayer incentives being given to same. Now another story has come out about Rep. Hamilton (and others) supporting yet another piece of legislation that helps a specific group. This time the company’s owners are also donors.
State Sen. Bill Rabon last week successfully attached language to a bill moving through the General Assembly that would provide sales tax rebates to Carolina Marine Terminal Inc. Mike McCarley, the company’s president, gave the maximum $4,000 contribution to Hamilton’s successful primary campaign in January, and has given her campaign at least $7,000 total since 2010, according to campaign finance reports on the State Board of Elections website.
Hamilton said the amendment . . . . will create jobs and that the long-term benefits outweigh any costs to the state through tax breaks. She also said other port-related businesses could take advantage of the credit as well, although she didn’t know of any similar companies wishing to expand.
“The idea is to encourage them to pull the trigger on these projects now and for North Carolina to realize the benefits of these new jobs in the coming fiscal year,” Hamilton said.
She said she would push hard for this type of legislation regardless of any contributions from those who would benefit. “It’s just good for business,” she said. “It’s a job-creating piece of legislation.”
It also seems to be “good” for Hamilton’s campaign. It’s too bad that she isn’t as interested in providing the same break for ALL businesses or even in treating all businesses as equals. Also sad that she isn’t really interested in getting rid of special carve outs for businesses and creating a better, more easily understandable tax code.
Rep. Danny McComas (R-New Hanover) also gets into the act.
He said he has been friends with McCarley and company vice president Kevin Walker for many years. Walker gave $2,000 to McComas’ campaign in 2008 and $2,000 to Tillis in 2011, according to the online campaign finance records. McCarley also gave House Speaker Thom Tillis $2,000 in 2011; he gave Sen. Thom Goolsby, R-New Hanover, $1,500 since 2010, according to campaign spending reports.
This just looks bad and Sen. Rabon has the snarkiest remark of the day about people who question this:
Rabon said the fact that McCarley has contributed to the local politicians didn’t bother him.
“I don’t look at that stuff,” he said. “Most business people do (contribute). That’s the unfortunate part of politics.… People that understand politics contribute. People that don’t complain about it.”
As a former elected official and policy wonk, I think Rabon doesn’t fully understand the nature of “pay to play” politics and why it doesn’t tend to pass the smell test. This really pays WELL for Carolina Marine Terminal. I wonder how many other companies are willing to pony up funds for legislators to get ten times the return on their bottom line?
........As you post your comment, please conform to Squall Line's simple comment policy: we welcome all perspectives, but require that comments be both civil and respectful. If you wouldn't say it to a co-worker in front of your boss, it probably is not civil and respectful. We will delete any comment that fails this test and issue a warning to the poster. A second offense will result in a ban on commenting on this site. In sum, disagreements, arguments even, are welcome; abusive behavior is not. Thanks.
You must be logged in to post a comment.