Carolina Journal News Reports
RALEIGH — The N.C. Department of Commerce on Friday changed tier designations, which determine a variety of state funding opportunities to assist in economic development, for 19 of the state’s 100 counties.
The state is required to calculate tier rankings annually under the William S. Lee Quality Jobs and Business Expansion Act, using a formula established by statute. Using the formula, the Commerce Department assembles statistics on all of North Carolina's 100 counties and assigns a tier designation ranking from one to five, with Tier 1 as the most economically distressed and Tier 5 as the least-challenged. The changes are based on annual evaluation of population growth, unemployment rate, and per-capita income.
In the 2004 evaluations, Burke, Caldwell, Caswell, Catawba, Cleveland, Harnett, Pender, Stokes, Surry, and Yancey counties moved down one tier level to a more-distressed designation. Beaufort, Cumberland, Duplin, Lenoir, Martin, Onslow, Vance and Wilson counties all moved up one tier level to a less-distressed ranking. Hertford County moved up two tiers. All other counties remained at 2003 tier levels, a Commerce Department press release said.
Tier designations determine a variety of economic development opportunities available to each county such as the available amount of tax credits for job creation, worker training, and investment in machinery and equipment under the William S. Lee Act. Businesses locating or expanding in counties that are more economically distressed receive greater tax credits than those that locate in more prosperous areas.
A map and complete listings of 2004 tier rankings are available upon request or on the web.