Port Quote: Is Nikki Haley On Crack?
We were recently forwarded a press release from the S.C. State Ports Authority (SCSPA) touting the reelection of its chairman, Columbia, S.C. businessman Bill Stern. The release also claims that the Port of Charleston recorded its highest monthly cargo volume in nearly five years last month.
That’s all well and good we suppose … but of particular interest in this press release was a quote submitted by S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley.
“It’s no secret that South Carolina’s ports are a major economic development engine for our state, representing $45 billion in annual economic activity,” said Gov. Nikki Haley. “The growth of our ports means more jobs and their continued growth will help us add to the over 37,000 new jobs and over $9 billion in new investment we have brought to South Carolina. We can be confident that under the continued strong and focused leadership of Bill Stern, Jim Newsome and the Ports Authority board, we will see Charleston deepened to 50 feet, Georgetown revitalized with new life and a port in Jasper approved and built.”
Wait … what?
First of all, Nikki Haley can brag about 37,000 jobs and $9 billion in investment all she wants, but the fact of the matter is our state’s labor participation rate is hovering near record lows and our income levels continue sliding further behind the rest of the nation. She may have successfully bribed a handful of companies with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of tax breaks – but rest assured that crony capitalism has come at a price.
But it is Haley’s quote about the Jasper Port that’s truly incredulous – especially in light of the ”Savannah River Sellout,” in which she betrayed South Carolina’s economic interests in exchange for campaign cash and a prime time speaking slot at the 2012 Republican National Convention.
Seriously … is this woman on crack? Or has she by some deranged cranial osmosis managed to convince herself that this shameless betrayal (like any number of other things in her life) never happened?
After promising to do a better job competing against Georgia, Haley instead hand-delivered a major competitive advantage to its government-run port. Not only did her decision aid Georgia’s taxpayer-funded port expansion plans (and diminish Charleston’s competitiveness), it killed off any chance for a public-private port facility in Jasper – home to the last remaining deepwater port location on the Eastern Seaboard.
In fact Georgia is dumping the spoil from its dredging project on the Jasper port site - meaning nothing is going to be built there for another half-century.
Yet now – astoundingly – Haley is touting the very port she killed, vowing it will be “approved and built.”
Of all the Haley hypocrisies we’ve covered over the years – and trust us, they have been legion – this is by far the most galling. She kills a private sector port in South Carolina, makes our state’s taxpayers subsidize a government-run port in Georgia, dumps toxic sludge where our port was supposed to go and now says “pay no attention to any of that stuff I just did.”
Again … astounding.
We reached out to SCSPA officials, asking them to name one thing Haley has done to make sure “a port in Jasper (is) approved and built.” Not surprisingly, we received no response.