RALEIGH, N.C. – Monday’s Skinny about the merits of state funding for wider access to broadband vs. $300 million in tax breaks for Apple triggered an interesting variety of reader responses.

“I’m in California,” Steve wrote. “Why would any modern company locate in N.C. without the assurance of broadband access to employees at work and at home. The multiplier effect of a server farm is about zero. Please thank your state representatives for helping keeping hitech jobs here!”

Scott added: “Nice perspective regarding the broadband funding and Apple incentives. 100 jobs, or extending broadband to many, many more. Hmmm.”

Pam wants both Apple and broadband.

“Seeking both federal and state funds for broadband would be the absolute best economic choice that legislators could make,” she wrote. “Leaving this up to the cell phone companies, i.e. Verizon and Sprint, would only serve to further separate those who can afford $60./month fees from those who cannot.

“While creating economic tax incentives to lure high tech companies has its advantages, whether the companies choose from a local pool of talent or an international one, schools benefit, as do retailers and restaurants. But those potential employees are more inclined to choose "wired" climates, as they do in Malaysia, Singapore and other thriving business communities.

“Allowing commercial industry to bid on the white space freed up when the analogue TV signals halt was a huge mistake. Now we are faced with these choices during a recession. Spread free broadband; it’s a win-win situation.”

The N.C. House is expected to vote today on the tax incentive package that could lure an Apple project to the state. However, not everyone agrees that the deal is a good one.

For example, Tom Campbell, co-founder and host of the weekly TV news analysis program N.C. Spin, called the bill a “giveaway.”

“It is time to stop these escalating high-stakes tax giveaways. An excellent case can be made we don’t get our money’s worth from them. Dell Computer’s recent 260 job cut and Phillip Morris’ closing of their Concord manufacturing facility are the latest proof that business is going to do what is in their best interest, regardless of incentives that may have been provided,” Campbell wrote in his blog.

As The Skinny wrote Monday, incentives aren’t necessarily bad. A variety of grants and rebates have helped bring jobs to the state, and incentives are a necessary evil in the world of industrial recruiting.

However, statewide broadband is a necessary GOOD. Bills in the General Assembly that could lead to wider access for more residents and businesses make economic sense. The nation’s 10th largest state continues to grow, and we aren’t off-shoring people like companies are off-shoring jobs.

A sound policy of economic incentives for industry and broadband access for all is a winning combination.