Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Lauch Faircloth, March 22, 1999. Interview I-0069. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Successful growth without tax incentives

Under his tenure as Commerce Secretary, Faircloth remembers, North Carolina was "the envy of the nation." He achieved a high level of business growth without tax incentives, because he believed such incentives set the state on a slippery slope toward spending more and more on attracting businesses.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Lauch Faircloth, March 22, 1999. Interview I-0069. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

JM: Let me ask two questions. Generally speaking, what were the perceptions of persons outside the state -- both in the US and abroad -- of North Carolina and the business climate in those years? What kind of reaction and what kind of reception did you meet? LF: Very, very favorable. It's not self-praising. It wasn't me. We were the envy of the nation. I don’t know. You can check the records. As far as economic growth, we were way ahead of anybody. JM: Was North Carolina [back] then experimenting with and doing any of [the kinds of things] we see typically these days -- tax incentives other--? LF: No, no. We did not. JM: Inducement packages? LF: The community college system was a tremendous boost to us. We did not do any tax incentives. JM: That had not really yet begun? LF: We did not [do that]. I was adamantly opposed to it. JM: On what kind of argument? Why did you take that view? LF: Because, all right, so we bring in Mr. Brown's company with a massive tax incentives. All right, so that means that next year, Mr. Brown's come. He's running. He's going to have to pay a hell of a lot more taxes to bring Mr. Green in. Then Mr. Green's going to pay to bring Mr. Black in. I was opposed to tax incentives and I still think it was a terrible way to do business because the existing industry is paying for new industry. All right, truth is, it's somewhat of a competitive labor [market]. Labor is not infinite. You are putting an additional tax on an existing industry to have their labor supply depleted.