The North Carolina state Senate unanimously approved more funds for economic development Monday and a final Senate and House vote on the NC Competes legislation are expected today. The bill restores Jobs Development Investment Grant (JDIG) funding exhausted last fall.

The JDIG grants give companies substantial tax breaks in return for a promise to create a given number of jobs over a certain period, usually five years or less. They have been used to attract companies ranging from Dell Computers to MetLife to the state.

House and Senate legislators debated new rules for the program, with the Senate asking for restrictions on how much of the incentive funds can go to rural counties. Wake, Durham and Mecklenburg have received more than 80 percent of JDIG awards in the past.

The compromise passed increases the cap on the awards at $20 million a year from $15 million and can go to $35 million for a “high yield” year. High yield is a deal where a company invests $500 million and creates 1,750 jobs.

Under the terms of the bill, urban counties need to add their own incentives to qualify for JDIG grants.

The bill also grants tax credits to certain industries: aviation fuel, technology data centers, and motor sports would receive sales tax exemptions.