The Palmetto Insider

The blog of the South Carolina Policy Council

Hardees Created More Jobs than Innovista

with 2 comments

State lawmakers and University of South Carolina leaders promised to create thousands of private-sector jobs when they announced the Innovista research campus at USC several years ago. But so far promises of private investment and job creation are all that exist despite spending more than $100 million of taxpayer funds on the project.

“Innovista remains a bedrock strategy for stimulating economic development,” USC President Harris Pastides told his trustees. “Innovista is about creating knowledge, jobs and investment.”

Creating jobs sure sounds good, but the reality is the jobs haven’t materialized.

State and USC leaders tore down a Hardees restaurant that employeed 20 people to make room for an Innovista building. The building, supposedly built to create jobs, employs no private-sector workers.

State and USC leaders tore down a Hardees restaurant that employeed 20 people to make room for Innovista's Horizon I building. The taxpayer funded multi-million dollar building hosts zero private-sector jobs.

The university tore down a Hardees restaurant that once occupied the corner of Assembly and Blossom streets where the Horizon I building now stands. Other than the claim of a token presence by a few university researchers and the National Science Foundation, the 5-story building sits empty and largely unfinished.

The Hardees restaurant created 20 private-sector jobs. Horizon I, despite its multi-million dollar price tag, has thus far created no private-sector jobs. From the results, if state and university leaders were interested in creating jobs they would have been better off ditching Innovista and leaving the Hardees in place.

Constructing Horizon I eliminated a private-sector business responsible for 20 jobs and replaced it with an empty office building while costing state taxpayers millions of dollars. Not exactly a good return on investment.

These results are obviously a far cry from the “thousands of high-paying jobs” that Innovista was supposed to create as it ushered in the “hydrogen economy of the future.”Innovista’s failure illustrates precisely why government should never attempt to influence winners and losers in the economy.

A single fast-food restaurant did more for the South Carolina economy than Innovista has thus far…and you can’t even get fries with that.

For a detailed recap of Innovista’s failed promises, click here.


Written by Bryan Cox

August 17, 2009 at 1:03 pm

2 Responses

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  1. […] that’s the point of a new video posted on The South Carolina Policy Council’s “Palmetto Insider” […]

    Hardees > Innovista

    August 17, 2009 at 2:13 pm

  2. […] State lawmakers such as House Speaker Bobby Harrell of Charleston are indeed big hydrogen supporters, but their supporting data doesn’t always hold up under scrutiny. For example, earlier this year, Harrell released a statement that said hydrogen had proven to be a great investment for South Carolina. Among the facts he touted was this: “The public/private investment in hydrogen has created 229 jobs in South Carolina. With 65 percent of those jobs being created in the past five years, this is proving to be a growing industry.” But in reality that works out to fewer than 30 hydrogen-related jobs a year on average over the past half decade. Further, it’s unclear what kind of jobs Harrell was referring to. If the tens of millions in tax dollars that have gone toward hydrogen research have been used by state agencies and publicly funded universities to hire lobbyists and consultants, that’s hardly the type of economic development that has long-term economic benefits for the state. Innovista, for example, hasn’t created a single private sector job. […]

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