McCrory: New economic development strategy being planned with legislators; details unavailable

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CARY, North Carolina — Gov. Pat McCrory said Thursday that he is working on a new economic development strategy for North Carolina, but it is too early to release details.

At a news conference for the opening of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, McCrory said he is working with legislators on a plan called NC Competes. If North Carolina wants to compete with other southeastern states for companies, then the state must have a firm strategy that can be communicated, he said.

"I will be recommending a plan ... in partnership with the legislature, which will encourage large-scale manufacturing to continue to grow in North Carolina ... a new plan which will attract new investors and new entrepreneurs to North Carolina ... that will help our communities and main streets of North Carolina, and also a plan which will provide funding for long-term infrastructure needs, which will help both industry and the general public alike," McCrory said.

Legislative leaders share his sense of urgency for the plan, although they must work through their own process, he said. Both McCrory and legislators share the goal of increasing jobs in the state, the governor said.

"In order to succeed, I've got to be able to communicate a clear message to businesses on what our strategy is. ... My peer governors who are very good friends of mine, they are presenting clear messages to what they have to offer in their states, and I ought to have the same tool box available in North Carolina."

McCrory and lawmakers created the partnership to take over corporate recruitment efforts previously housed in the state Commerce Department. It began operating in October.

The partnership's new chief executive officer, Chris Chung, has been on the job less than two weeks. He previously launched the Missouri Partnership, a similar public-private entity. "I think the beauty of this public-private partnership model is the fact that economic development and job creation is too important for either the public or private sectors to go it alone," Chung said.

The nonprofit partnership is set to receive about $17.5 million a year in state funding. Chung will receive an annual salary of $225,000, of which $120,000 will come from public funds.

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Martha Waggoner can be reached at http://twitter.com/mjwaggonernc

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