Major SC Economic Development Scandal Brewing

In announcing her intention to seek a second term as South Carolina’s governor, Nikki Haley boasted that her administration had announced new jobs “in 45 of 46 counties” in the Palmetto State. Never mind that most of these jobs are being paid for with tax dollars (a.k.a. picking winners and…

In announcing her intention to seek a second term as South Carolina’s governor, Nikki Haley boasted that her administration had announced new jobs “in 45 of 46 counties” in the Palmetto State.

Never mind that most of these jobs are being paid for with tax dollars (a.k.a. picking winners and losers in the marketplace), and never mind that many more jobs are being lost every day in all forty-six counties (just look at South Carolina’s plummeting labor participation rate).

Still, it’s a good sound bite for Haley … and it’s about to get better.

Just days before Haley’s scheduled reelection kickoff in Greenville, S.C., her Commerce Department announced that 500 new jobs were coming to Fairfield County – the one county where Haley has yet to bribe, err bring in new jobs. In addition to these mostly low-income positions, the company – TV manufacturer Element Electronics – has also agreed to invest $7.5 million in exchange for an undisclosed amount of taxpayer-funded subsidies.

A great day in South Carolina,” right?

Right …

“We welcome Element Electronics to South Carolina’s business community and celebrate the company’s decision to invest $7.5 million and create 500 new jobs in Fairfield County. Today’s announcement is another indication that we are doing the right things to attract job-creating investments here in South Carolina,” Haley said.

And on Monday – when Haley makes her reelection bid official – she can now proudly proclaim that she has announced jobs in “all forty-six South Carolina counties.”

There’s only one small problem with this happy tale …

As it turns out one rural South Carolina county’s gain is another’s loss – specifically, Sumter County’s loss. For Haley to make her “every county” claim, Sumter got shafted.

According to multiple sources on the ground in Sumter, at the Commerce Department and in manufacturing industry circles, Haley’s Commerce Department deliberately steered these 500 jobs away from a site in Sumter to a similar location in Fairfield County.

“She f*cked Sumter to make Fairfield the forty-sixth county to land jobs,” one irate local leader told FITS.

Another source claims the governor’s office manipulated the state’s taxpayer-funded incentives process to steer the company from Sumter to Fairfield.

“They got a better deal to choose the Fairfield location,” the source claims.

Commerce sources tell FITS pressure was also applied regarding the timing of the announcement – so Haley could make the “every county” claim in her reelection kickoff speech.

Astounding …

This website has repeatedly argued against government intervention in the private sector – and crap like this is why. There’s no excuse for government to bribe companies – or for politicians to manipulate that process in search of a campaign sound bite.

And while Haley has succeeded in lining up her “jobs in every county” quote, the political calculus on her decision could prove problematic. After all, there are more votes in Sumter than there are in Fairfield.

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9" August 22, 2013 at 11:20 pm

Haley. Scandal. Hello. Learn.

Hi, I'm Nikki August 23, 2013 at 12:48 am

“You want fries with that?”

vicupstate August 23, 2013 at 5:58 am

I don’t have any inside knowledge on this deal, but generally speaking the laws are already written to provide greater incentives for distressed counties like Fairfield, than for more prosperous ones like Sumter.

El Kabong August 23, 2013 at 7:11 am

Maybe she could also take credit for creating extra jobs at Experian through the DOR hacking!

TontoBubbaGoldstein August 24, 2013 at 4:26 pm

Yeah….but those weren’t SC jobs. Lot of them probably went to India.


EJB August 23, 2013 at 7:14 am

First, I would think that a TV company with 500 employees would cost a hell of a lot more than $7.5M, they must be getting a “free” building and site work or something.

Second, a low paying job is better than no job. The reason those jobs pay poorly is because they aren’t worth more. There isn’t a lot of high level intelligence or skill required, just be able to perform repetitive tasks day in and day out without shooting up the place. You could probably get circus dogs to do many of the jobs.

nitrat August 23, 2013 at 1:17 pm

These are exactly the kinds of jobs we need for the 20% (+/-) in the national population who have IQs between 85 and 70. These are people who can have problems with multi-step job tasks. They are not eligible for government benefits due to any major mental insufficiencies, but might never find a place in the “knowledge based economy”. The community and society – bad words to Libertarians – benefit when these people work.

johnq August 23, 2013 at 3:34 pm

20% nationally but in South Carolina more like 90% of the population has an IQ that low . You have to pay companies to come to this shithole of a state and pay the workers 12$ an hour with no benefits.

TontoBubbaGoldstein August 24, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Nitrat, an acknowledged progressive, brings up IQ differences among people into a discussion!!!

Quick! Someone get TBG’s smelling salts…


Hanna August 23, 2013 at 7:32 am

Good story and believe it to be true. Problem is, no one goes on the record for fearing the Governor.

Tis becomes another story of corruption in the Palmetto State but no one suffers a penalty at all.

Until we have an attorney general that takes white collar crime seriously all this cronyism will continue.

Manray9 August 23, 2013 at 10:51 am

The problem is all the leadership of the state — governor, attorney general, legislative leaders, et al — are all part of the same cabal. As with the economy, efficient and effective government only grows from competition and accountability. SC has neither.

durbin August 23, 2013 at 8:21 am

More prosperous than Sumter?

The Colonel August 23, 2013 at 10:44 am

Just sounds like sour grapes to me. Dang sure doesn’t rise to the level of “Major SC Economic Development Scandal…”

nitrat August 23, 2013 at 1:11 pm

‘This website has repeatedly argued against government intervention in the private sector …”

except where private and charter schools are concerned.

SomalianRoadCorp August 24, 2013 at 3:37 pm

Yep, that dastardly idea that parents can send their kids to where they want to go to school.

TontoBubbaGoldstein August 24, 2013 at 4:24 pm

“….especially where private and charter schools are concerned.”

Fixed it for ya!

swampland August 23, 2013 at 1:17 pm

If the government is going to pay companies to locate in SC (and I’m not saying that it should), I don’t see the problem with encouraging a company to locate in one of the poorest counties we have.

Philip Branton August 23, 2013 at 2:48 pm

Dear Citadel Cadets,

Here is another article for you to consider while anticipating another rambunctious football season. Just think for a moment cadets…..really think. What information did Sic Willie fail to highlight in the article..? That’s right….even Amy Lazenby can figure it out. It is the fact that he failed to link a MAP via google of the actual site for this new job “garden”..!! When viewers and readers are actually shown a map of this location, how many stop to think about the cost of all that foreign diesel it is going to take to get to this manufacturing site instead of Charleston or Georgetown..? Where are the raw materials being shipped in from…?? Railed in from…?? trucked in from..?? How much American blood is all that foreign diesel going to cost…??

Troops, the real scandal brewing is in the type of information that this website is failing to highlight. It really brings into question if the founders of this website really want to be better than the Post and Courier or not. Heck, are Sic Willie and Nancy Mace actual American citizens at all..?…….or just wanna-be screamers..?

Troops how should this article be countered to win the hearts and minds…??

scyankee August 24, 2013 at 9:58 am

” In addition to these mostly low-income positions”.. So are you saying that a job here is beneath you? Starting wage is 12 bucks per hour to work on the line, not exactly low wage you jackwad

scyankee August 24, 2013 at 9:59 am

I love how you put down a company that is providing an opportunity to allow people in a job poor county as chance to make a living.. Your a scumbag FITS

vicupstate August 25, 2013 at 9:32 am

He wasn’t putting down the company or the jobs, he was putting down Haley’s interference in it’s decision as to where to locate. At least that is the premise of the article. Who knows if it is true or not.


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