Top Ten Golden LEAF Wasteful Projects
by Brian Balfour - July 16th, 2010 - North Carlina Civitas
Over the years, Golden LEAF has funded a variety of wasteful projects. With North Carolina facing at least a $3 billion structural budget deficit next year, observers must ask: Do these projects represent the best use of this pot of state money?
The top ten wasteful Golden LEAF projects include:
1.This Ain’t Dollywood
In 2006, Golden LEAF granted $399,000 to the City of Roanoke Rapids to assist in “infrastructure improvements” in order to support the Carolina Crossroads Music & Entertainment District – home of the ill-fated Randy Parton Theatre. In its short history, the Theatre has been plagued by lawsuits, ownership changes, and financial losses that have left taxpayers holding the bag.
2.The Real Inspiration for the “Tea Party” Movement?
Golden LEAF decided it a wise investment to grant $380,000 in 2005 to “help fund the pre-development activities for the Sparta Museum.” Yes, the now-infamous Sparta Teapot Museum that garnered national ridicule as an example of government waste was also deemed worthy of Golden LEAF funding. Golden LEAF justified the grant with the laughable claim that a Museum housing “more than 10,000 antique, artist-made and production teapots” will be “a catalyst for revitalization” for the town. The museum was never built.
In 2008, Golden LEAF granted a whopping $100 million to the NC Global Transpark Authority in Kinston. The $100 million was dedicated to building a 500,000 square foot plant for Spirit AeroSystems in which Spirit builds aircraft parts for major airlines like Boeing and Airbus. Landing Spirit was supposed to trigger other aerospace companies to locate to the Global Transpark. Since Spirit signed the deal to come to the Transpark, however, no additional tenants have signed on. Moreover, Spirit is leasing their warehouse from the state government at $100 a year, while the Transpark struggles to pay back $38 million in loans to the state.
$100 million wasted. $100 million. The local government is on the hook for $38 million of that. Think of what that money could have accomplished if spent wisely.
In future years it is going to be hard to determine who wasted more money. The Golden Leaf Foundation or the Obama regime. As incompetent as Golden Leaf is proving, my money is still on Obama.