The Palmetto Insider

The blog of the South Carolina Policy Council

Pandering to Special Interests

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The State just doesn’t get it. In an article under the Politics section yesterday, the newspaper reported that “the S.C. Policy Council said a $400 million high-end shopping mall planned for Jasper County is bad for South Carolina.” Not true. We are simply saying taxpayers should not be asked to pay $100 million dollars to subsidize an out-of-state developer building a retail venture. Our conclusions, repeated at a news conference in the Statehouse rotunda yesterday, are based on analyses by both state and independent economists. They warn that the mall will not create the jobs the developer and its supporters claim, but rather will shift jobs from existing, tax-paying retail businesses to businesses that open in the proposed mall.

And The State didn’t mention that the news conference represented a coalition of groups raising concerns over the mall proposal: the Policy Council, the Coastal Conservation League, the South Carolina Club for Growth and the South Carolina Taxpayer’s Association.

There are also environmental concerns about the proposed development. S.C. Coastal Conservation League Executive Director Dana Beach warned that runoff from roofs and parking lots in the proposed “mega-mall” will have dire consequences for the fragile, and already damaged, Okatie River. There is simply no effective way to prevent hydrocarbons, heavy metals, bacteria, and other dangerous substances from entering the river, he warned during Tuesday’s news conference.

Reporter Roddie Burris, in a follow-up article today in The State, continued to inaccurately cast the debate as pro-jobs vs. anti-jobs. The Policy Council is in favor of free market reforms that empower all businesses in South Carolina—not just a few picked by lawmakers for special favors. In the long term, free market reforms create more jobs.

If Okatie Crossings is a good business decision, then let The Sembler Company build it, and let the free market, not lawmakers, pick winners and losers. Don’t ask taxpayers to foot the bill.

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Written by Robert Appel

March 10, 2010 at 4:22 pm

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