To cultivate sustained growth and job creation in our region, Rutherford County and the State of North Carolina offer various incentive programs for the creation of new jobs and capital investment. Rutherford County is classified as a Tier One County meaning greater eligibility for State incentives.

Below is a list of programs that may be available for manufacturing or data center projects. All local, state and federal programs do have rules and regulations, and in most situations a thorough application is required. Approval decisions are made by the funding entity prior to any public disclosure of the project. The information below is comprised of various programs that may be available and does not imply approval of grants or other funds.

Rutherford County’s Board of Commissioners support economic development in our region and understand the need to provide strong programs and financial incentives to strengthen and diversify the county’s economy.

  • Economic Development Grant - Provides a grant to new and expanding manufacturing or data center firms when new jobs are created and/or new significant capital investment is made. These grants are often used by private firms to help off-set costs in the early years of a project.
    • Award amount varies based upon the number of jobs created and total investment dollars.
    • Incentive is performance based, meaning the company must meet their jobs creation and capital investment commitments to receive the incentive.
    • An annual review occurs to determine if grant conditions such as jobs and investment are met.
    • Grant is paid directly to the company.
To apply, Rutherford County must receive a letter from the company detailing project criteria such as the anticipated investment, jobs, and payroll.

*Approval of an economic development grant rests solely with the County Commissioners after an advertised public hearing. Any disclosure of the project prior to public hearing may nullify grant opportunities.

The State of North Carolina offers incentive programs to companies that meet certain requirements. These companies can take advantage of tax credits and other incentives, including sales and use tax discounts, exemptions and refunds, discretionary programs and other cost-saving programs.

A sampling of State incentive programs include:
  • One North Carolina Fund (One NC) – Awards grants for job creation and/or retention in conjunction with local government matches.
  • Job Development Investment Grants (JDIG) – Awards a limited number of cash grants directly to new and expanding businesses that will provide economic benefits to the State, who need the grant to carry out the project in North Carolina. Grants are based on the job creation and investment commitment made by companies in their formal applications to the State prior to a location decision.
  • Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and Industrial Development Fund (IDF) – Provides grants and loans for infrastructure development to eligible local governments.
  • Rural Grants/Programs – offers grants to local governments for critical infrastructure investments and to renovate vacant buildings and/or renovate, expand or construct health care facilities that will lead to the creation of new, full-time jobs.
  • Customized Training and Development Program – coordinated through Isothermal Community College, this program provides customized skills training for new and expanding industry.
For a comprehensive list and additional information on State incentives, visit
The Region C Workforce Development Board facilitates the delivery of workforce development programs in McDowell, Rutherford, Cleveland and Polk Counties.

  • On The Job Training Program – provides incentives for business to help defray the cost of training eligible new employees. The program also provides training opportunities in the local business community to adults and dislocated workers. 
  • Incumbent Workforce Development Program – provides funding to established North Carolina businesses to provide educational and skills training for current workers.
  • WorkKeys® – provides assessment system for area businesses by connecting work skills, training, and testing for education and employers.  Value is estimated at $3,000 per job with first job profiled at no cost.  ·

Duke Energy has developed incentive riders to enhance economic development through reductions in electric rates for use of major expansions and new businesses.

  • Economic Development Rider (EC) – Provides new large qualified customers a discounted power rate for four years of operation (1,000-kilowatt (kW) minimum load).
  • Economic Redevelopment Rider (ER) – Provides new large qualified customers who occupy an existing building a 50 percent discount on power for one year (500-kW minimum load).
  • Smart $aver Incentive Program – Provides rebates to non-residential customers to install energy-efficient equipment in their facilities.·


Rutherford County offers a very favorable environment for the expansion of existing business and attraction of new business to the area. Tax advantages coupled with a variety of state and county incentive programs make good sense for business. Furthermore, Rutherford County's low tax rate is 33rd out of 100 counties in North Carolina. Also, unlike many locations, business and property owners in Rutherford County are not burdened with numerous Special District taxes.   

The current real and personal property tax rate for Rutherford County is $0.597 per $100 of valuation (2019), and there is no county payroll tax. Additional Rutherford County tax information is available.

Per $100 of appraised evaluation (2019):

  • Forest City – $0.28
During the last several years, North Carolina has created a more favorable tax environment for business by eliminating the inventory tax, accelerating depreciation of equipment and reducing workers compensation taxes.

  • State and Federal withholding is determined from appropriate tax tables.
  • State Corporate Income Tax: 2.5%
  • Personal Income Tax maximum rate: 5.25%
  • Sales Tax on machinery/equipment: 1% with a maximum of $80/unit or piece of machinery that is used for manufacturing
  • Inventory Tax: None
For complete information on North Carolina business taxes check the Information for Business section on the NC Department of Revenue website.