House OKs expansion of cash grants for businesses

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- House Republicans insist that their vote for a plan to expand the scope of a state economic development inventive program does not conflict with their mantra that government can't create jobs.

The chamber voted 96-0 on Wednesday for the measure proposed by Gov. Bill Haslam.

The bill was carried by Republican Rep. Tim Wirgau of Paris, who said the expanded cash grant program would help spur investment into economically distressed areas of the state.

House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick told The Associated Press that his preference would be to focus on improving the state's business climate alone. But the Chattanooga Republican said the state must offer incentives in order to compete with other states.

The companion bill is awaiting vote in the Senate.

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