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NC Gov. Pat McCrory signs bill to allow the transfer of some Commerce Department functions

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RALEIGH, North Carolina — North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed a bill Tuesday that will shift business-recruiting and marketing functions from the state-run Commerce Department to a private nonprofit corporation.

Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker sat beside McCrory as he signed the bill laying out the contract requirements for the new Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina. Decker said the measure is a good one to get the partnership off the ground. In addition to business recruitment and development, functions including international trade, and travel and tourism, would be transferred to the partnership.

McCrory has sought the transfer to the nonprofit for more than a year. The legislature told him last summer to develop a partnership strategy.

"What we're doing today is making North Carolina more competitive for jobs," McCrory said before the signing in the House chambers of the old Capitol building, joined by the legislators. "We have to be competitive, we have to be nimble, we have to be quick."

The department will enter a contract with the partnership, which is already formed and has hired an interim chief executive. The contract will be put forward in the next 45 days, Decker said after the ceremony. State government will still award taxpayer-funded economic incentives for business to relocate or expand in the state.

The partnership will have to raise $5.75 million in private money over five years, including $250,000 initially, to tap into state operating funds. Decker said funds already have been located to meet the initial private match.

"We want to leverage private dollars," she said, adding that North Carolina businesses are inclined to support the partnership because they want the state to be successful economically.

The law requires employees to meet the ethics standards required of legislators and executive branch officials.

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