N.C. town welcomes Novartis plant

Tomorrow's grand opening of a Novartis flu vaccine plant in North Carolina illustrates just how important pharma facilities can be to local economies--and just how far governments will go to attract them. Bearing in mind that plants and research labs alike are shutting down across the U.S. because of mega-mergers, it's instructive to remind ourselves that the very same facilities once inspired such hope.

And such tax breaks. Now, we're not suggesting that Novartis will end up shutting down this brand-spanking-new vaccine plant. But we don't mind telling you that Holly Springs, the plant's new home, borrowed $8.3 million to buy the company 167 acres of land. Or that the town spent $12 million on roads and other infrastructure. The state of North Carolina added more incentives, bringing the total incentive package to more than $40 million, the News & Observer reports.

Considering that Novartis has since added $225 million to the town's tax base, the perks could be worth it. As the N&O points out, the town was among the few in the area to increase its budget this fiscal year. And the drugmaker's presence has already attracted more business to the area, the paper reports. For North Carolina and Holly Springs' sake, let's hope the upward trend continues.

- read the story in the N&O