South Carolina governor Henry McMaster took credit in his 2018 State of the State address for creating “17,000 new jobs” in 2017.
Did he, though?
No … in fact, McMaster hasn’t been actively involved in economic development efforts for months, according to multiple sources at the S.C. Department of Commerce (SCDOC).
Nor is he likely to be involved in those efforts moving forward (especially after a costly flip-flop on a deal to purchase embattled crony capitalist utility SCANA).
Not only that, as economic developers are aware there’s a “pipeline” of projects … with jobs announcements usually coming months (sometimes years) after recruitment efforts began. In other words, most of the jobs McMaster touted were likely the result of efforts made by the administration of former S.C. governor Nikki Haley.
(To the extent the so-called former “Jobs Governor” actually accomplished anything on the employment front).
Don’t take our word for it, though …
In June of 2017, German automaker BMW announced it was adding 1,000 new jobs (and investing an additional $600 million) at its manufacturing facility in Greer, South Carolina – which now employs north of 10,000 people.
McMaster included these jobs in his 2017 total, however BMW executives said at the time the decision to bring them to South Carolina was actually made the previous year – prior to the election of Donald Trump as president.
“There was already planning before (Trump’s election), because we have long-term strategic planning,” BMW chairman Harald Krueger told CNBC at the time.
Catherine Templeton – McMaster’s top rival for the 2018 GOP gubernatorial nomination – has made passing references to the governor’s economic impotence on the campaign trail.
In fact during her campaign kickoff this week Templeton thanked Haley for “filling the pipeline before she left so we don’t lose too much ground before we elect a new governor.”[timed-content-server show=”2018-Feb-15 00:00:00″ hide=”2018-Mar-01 00:00:00″]
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Templeton also touted her efforts to fight the administration of Barack Obama when it sought to block aircraft manufacturer Boeing from opening a manufacturing facility in the South Carolina Lowcountry.
To be clear: This news site has always disagreed with “Republican” politicians in the Palmetto State when it comes to the issue of “economic development.”
We don’t believe companies like BMW and Boeing should be given tax dollars to bring their jobs here, unless of course government is willing to offer proportional incentives to all businesses in the state.
Fair is fair, right?
Absent such equitable dispersement of government favors, we believe crony capitalist incentive deals are little more than glorified theft.
“We reject all speculative, taxpayer-funded economic intervention in the free market – and have consistently argued that government has no place picking winners and losers in the economy,” we wrote earlier this month.
Also, it’s become abundantly clear over the past few decades that the Palmetto State’s philosophy of purchasing jobs with tax dollars is a spectacular failure.
South Carolina has anemic income growth, weak economic expansion, a paucity of decent jobs and a shrinking workforce.
And these numbers continue to get worse, not better …
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