“Crowd funding, catalyst fund, and JDIG expansion are dead, dead, dead.”

So wrote WRAL’s Mark Binker in an email from the General Assembly on Wednesday.

And you, dear taxpayer, may suffer the consequences.

North Carolina had a chance to establish itself as a leader in the emerging trend of crowdfunding for startup businesses. The state also could have had more money to invest in economic development. But the General Assembly failed to pass the bills. And don’t be surprised if our state suffers.  

The NC JOBS Act for crowdfunding failed.

Expansion of Job Development Investment Grants failed.

A new catalyst fund – $20 million – failed.

Now here’s the rumor: A big manufacturing jobs project – autos, perhaps? – is looking for a host. The catalyst fund was to help N.C. land the project.

Recent WRAL TechWire coverage of crowdfunding:

  • Crowdfunding backer criticizes Senate for bill’s failure.
  • Crowdfunding to leave Triangle for Atlanta, but says bill’s failure not the reason
  • Study shows crowdfunding of growing importance to startups
  • Venture capital attorney: Crowdfunding would boost growth

Corporate welfare? Well, look at what’s happened in South Carolina along I-85 and other Southern states that have landed big plants. How different would the I-40 corridor from Chapel Hill to Greensboro be today if North Carolina had landed BMW and related developments that evolved from that deal?

JDIGS are tax rebates, not giveaways. if jobs are created as contracted for between the state and businesses, the business gets a rebate on state income tax withheld for employees.

But the crowdfunding failure is the hardest to understand.

Not only did the NC JOBS Act not cost any state tax money – it would create MORE because growing businesses empowered by money from small investors could invest in capital and jobs.

The bill passed decisively in the House then was held hostage in the Senate as part of a larger bill that even Gov. Pat McCrory questioned.

“The General Assembly adjourned sine die – Latin for “without day” – when the Senate ended its session at 7:43 p.m. Wednesday evening. Lawmakers will not return to work this year unless McCrory vetoes a bill or calls lawmakers back for a special session,” Binker wrote at WRAL.com’s @Capitol report.

“The jobs catalyst fund sought by McCrory was part of House Bill 1224, a bill that was part of a complex trio of bills that would have changed economic development laws, sales taxes and funding for teaching assistants. Members of the state House defeated that bill this week.”

Binker reports that Commerce Sec. Sharon Decker “had told lawmakers this week that there were several projects that North Carolina was trying to land in which the closing fund would have been useful. Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam, R-Wake, said on the House Floor Tuesday that one of those projects was a Continental Tire that economic developers are trying to draw to Brunswick County.”

McCrory weighed in on the bill’s defeat.

“It didn’t pass because there was too much in one bill,” McCrory said. “I’m not upset with House members about their votes, because I also shared concerns about the process.”

He vowed to t”move on with economic development,” including a push for new economic development tools.

The Senate could have broken out crowdfunding as it did funds for the so-called JMAC (Job Maintenance and Capital Development Investment Fund), which passed the House 88-9.

Will McCrory call the General Assembly back for a special session to review these economic development issues?

“If he were to call us back to work on that sort of stuff, I think that’s something we’d be open to,” House Speaker Thom Tillis told Binker. “We’re in the only state in the Southeast that doesn’t have something like that” job catalyst fund. “It sometimes will influence what businesses will look at North Carolina.”