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Another Old Ship? Not With Our Tax Dollars!




A group of Lowcountry residents are trying to raise the money needed to bring a nineteenth century battleship from Philadelphia to Port Royal, S.C. – although it remains to be seen whether they will be able to pull off the project without relying on millions of dollars from Palmetto State taxpayers.

The group wants to turn the ship – the U.S.S. Olympia – into a tourist attraction, but they aren’t saying how much of the estimated $10 million price tag they have raised for that purpose.  In fact according to The Island Packet they are already working on the project with the town of Port Royal, S.C. as well as the S.C. State Ports Authority (SCSPA) – which we view as evidence of the extent to which government support is likely to play a role in this process.

Look, we’re all for old ships … we love history (especially naval history) and can’t get enough of tourist attractions.  And if this group of investors can independently raise enough money to pull off this project, then we will be the first to praise and promote their venture.   However, as we’ve said on numerous previous occasions, we don’t see the preservation of old U.S. naval vessels as a core function of government (a view that applies to Confederate submarines as well, incidentally).

In other words, our enthusiastic support for a project like this stops the second one red cent of tax money is expended on its behalf …

South Carolina taxpayers recently shelled out $9.2 million to a money-losing, quasi-government entity for the purpose of restoring a Korean War destroyer, the U.S.S. Laffey.  Meanwhile this same quasi-government entity is on the hook for an estimated $100 million in repair work on a World War II carrier, the U.S.S. Yorktown.

Those are bills taxpayers should never be asked to pay …


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