The big economic development news today was that Fidelity is building a regional center in RTP to house a total of over 3,000 workers, which will include adding 2,000 jobs to their total workforce in the Triangle. These jobs pay an average of over $58,000 per year plus benefits. The reasons Fidelity gave for choosing the site in North Carolina were the education level, quality of life, and the fact that the state is providing $69 million in incentives.
Now I am typically for incentives aimed at bringing good jobs to the state, but the $69 million price tag seems a bit much to me. Granted some of the grants require the company to contribute a certain amount back to the state, the figure I heard for Fidelity was $12 million, and the deal is much smaller than the $318 million given to Dell for creating only 1,500 less highly paid positions.
Also, consider that "quality of life" and "education level" come across when companies talk about the decision to relocate more often than pure incentive numbers. To me that would indicate that we need to have a balance between incentives and building good infrastructure to live and do business in the area. It means that we need to spend and plan to make our cities good places to live. And invest in our education at all levels, so that we can keep our universities and their grads at competitive levels.
Anyway, welcome to all the new Fidelity workers. I only hope that we have a better planning system in place before you all get here. Oh yeah, did I mention that the bulk of the employees are going to be transferred in from Massachusetts.