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Letter: Don't lose sight of small business

Posted: March 29, 2018 4:32 p.m.
Updated: March 30, 2018 1:00 a.m.

I am absolutely 100 percent in favor of economic development. Industrial jobs and industrial development is essential. I stand by my commitment to economic development. And while economic development is essential for a healthy economy, we also need to be aware of taking care of our small business owners.

I want to recognize the Chronicle-Independent for its complete section (A) last Friday on economic development. I also want to recognize the publisher’s editorial. For some time, I have been saying that I am not pointing fingers, laying blame, or trying to embarrass anyone. I am only asking questions and seeking information so council can make better decisions.

As the paper points out, since 2011, South Carolina has received $10.2 billion in new industrial locations and 48,000 new jobs from new industries. In that same time, Kershaw County has brought in $5.8 million in new industrial investment and 25 new jobs. After lavish spending for economic development, Kershaw County has gotten just 1/4 of one percent of the new industrial development in South Carolina and only 25 out of the 48,000 new industrial jobs announced in South Carolina since 2011.

As the Chronicle-Independent points out, Chester County, which is much smaller than Kershaw County, has gotten almost $1 billion in new industrial development and 2,622 new jobs since 2011. Other small and medium size rural counties have done far better than Kershaw County. In fact, almost all counties have done better than Kershaw County. I want members of council and the taxpayers of Kershaw County to look at the chart in the paper as to the new jobs and investments since 2011.

The administration and economic development office seem to indicate that in 2011 Kershaw County did not have any economic development product available. But at that time Kershaw County had:

• Three industrial parks which were open and ready for business.

• A commercial park which was open and ready for business.

• A mega site ready for development.

• And a spec building finished and ready for sale.

And as I pointed out at our last meeting, industrial tax fees known as fee in lieu of taxes have not increased that much. As I reported we are up only about 8 percent in the last 10 years and are actually down $150,000 from last year from industrial tax fees. Despite some questions about my numbers, they were proven correct by the newspaper’s investigation.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m all for economic development; But let’s promote economic development in a good way that creates jobs and investment. Throwing lavish amounts of money at it has not been the answer.

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