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3/20/2016
NCCo to vote on million-dollar DuPont gift

"The DuPont Company has been part of the foundation of our Delaware economy for a century and this is our opportunity for us to show our support for the siting of two of the three reorganized corporations in Delaware," Councilman Bob Weiner said.

NCCo to vote on million-dollar DuPont gift

Xerxes Wilson, The News Journal 10:02 p.m. EDT March 20, 2016

New Castle County will decide Tuesday whether it wants to join the legion of states and municipalities showering major corporations with public money to keep the businesses around.

New Castle County Council on Tuesday will decide whether to set up a strategic economic development fund and put $7.5 million from tax reserves into the fund to pay DuPont Co. The county has offered tax incentives to companies in the past, but such a large cash incentive is unprecedented.

The planned incentives for the company are part of a larger state package to be doled out over five years. The plan for DuPont cash enticements emerged alongside the company's announcement in February that Wilmington will be the corporate headquarters for the agricultural company created by its $130 billion merger with Dow. That is in addition to a yet-unnamed specialty products business that was previously confirmed for Delaware.

New Castle County Executive Thomas P. Gordon has said the contribution is necessary to keep as many DuPont employees in Delaware as possible. Gordon has said the annual contributions could be halted if the company fails to deliver on promised jobs.

"The DuPont Company has been part of the foundation of our Delaware economy for a century and the opportunity for us to show our support for the siting of two of the three reorganized corporations in Delaware," Councilman Bob Weiner said.

The measure is expected to receive the approval of County Council and could open the door for future contributions to businesses in the name of economic development.

"I don't know that I am necessarily, personally in favor of corporate welfare, but it is how other states work and if we are going to be competitive, we have to play the game," Councilwoman Janet Kilpatrick said.

Kilpatrick said she wants to see the County Council devise specific criteria for use of the economic development fund once the DuPont contribution is formalized.

"I hope this is a path forward, approving this funding and using this as a springboard for us to grow in terms of economic development," Kilpatrick said.

Gordon will deliver his state of the county address at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The County Council will take up the cash incentive measures at 6:30 p.m. Both events will occur in the Louis L. Redding City/County Building at 800 French St. in Wilmington.

Contact Xerxes Wilson at (302) 324-2787 or xwilson@delawareonline.com. Follow @Ber_Xerxes on Twitter.

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