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NC Gov Wants Nonprofit To Lead Econ Development

By GARY D. ROBERTSON

BURLINGTON, N.C. (AP) â¿¿ Gov. Pat McCrory proposed Monday the creation of a private nonprofit corporation to spearhead North Carolina's economic development and tourism efforts that he says will make the state become more competitive in the economic development game with other states.

McCrory and Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker used the backdrop of a Burlington fabric maker to unveil the concept of a North Carolina Economic Development Corp., which would receive state funds and take over many current Commerce Department responsibilities. The legislature would have to sign off on the corporation, which also would award the state's monetary economic incentives to companies wanting to set up shop or remain in the state.

The corporation is envisioned by the McCrory administration as a tool for North Carolina to speak with one voice to promote the state's brand and economy. McCrory said state and local officials and the state's corporate citizens haven't had an integrated approach to selling the state.

"All of us have the same objectives, but we're often talking over or below each other and thus they're not really hearing what our message is," said McCrory, who would be the chairman of the corporation's board, at the announcement on the floor of Copland Fabrics. The state is often losing out in the bid for big out-of-state companies seeking to expand because it takes too long to react, the governor said.

"It really will allow to position ourselves and move a lot faster (and be) a lot more nimble," Decker said in an interview. "So often the projects we lose and the reason existing business sometimes leaves is not because there's a lot more money by one of our competitors at the table. They can move a lot faster. They know what their product is, and they can sell, and they can make decisions a lot faster."

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