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General Assembly passes economic incentives compromise

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RALEIGH (AP) -- The General Assembly has approved an expanded economic incentives package for large manufacturers, particularly two tire companies.

Lawmakers signed off today on a revised bill originally vetoed by Governor Mike Easley who said it was fiscally unsound.

The new bill was approved 61-44 in the House and 25-16 in the Senate.

It amended legislation initially written to target only a Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. plant in Fayetteville.

The new version would make it easier for Goodyear rival Bridgestone Corp. to also receive cash grants for making improvements at its plant in Wilson. It also increases the total cost of the grant program from $40 million over 10 years to $60 million.

Easley's office was involved in crafting the compromise, and the governor will likely sign the new bill into law.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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