Liberty, Equality … and Corporate Welfare

HOW ECONOMIC INCENTIVES COMPROMISE AMERICA’S MOST IMPORTANT VALUE Equality and liberty are not always compatible and in some cases directly opposed, but there is one notion of equality that is a necessary component of liberty, and that is “equality of opportunity.” Although this term is used differently on opposite sides of the political spectrum, advocates […]

Boeing Bond Deal Needs Explanation

WHY THE RUSH TO PUT FUTURE TAXPAYERS 120,000,000 MORE DOLLARS INTO DEBT? The news broke this week that Boeing plans to expand its existing North Charleston campus to include an information technology “center of excellence.” The expansion, according to a company spokesman, will create 2,000 jobs. State lawmakers quickly announced plans to issue $120 million […]

Half Time Ethics Report

It’s the beginning of April and lawmakers‘ two-week furlough is almost up, leaving us at roughly the half-way point of the 2013 legislative session. This was supposed to be the Year of Ethics Reform, but is it? Below is a “half-time report” detailing what’s been done already and what’s yet to be done. While some […]

An “Enterprise Division” for Clemson?

  IT’S ALL ABOUT POWER (A LOT OF IT) AND ACCOUNTABILITY (NONE OF IT) Last week, we posted a brief analysis of S.535, legislation that would create a murky new government entity called an “Enterprise Division” at Clemson University. The bill, in short, is a grossly misguided attempt to give vast powers to a government […]

Wanted: A New Approach to Economic Development

WHY KEEP TRYING TO ‘COMPETE’ ON OUR COMPETITORS’ TERMS? For generations, South Carolina lawmakers of both parties have shown an unwavering commitment to the idea that special tax incentives encourage economic growth – the idea, in other words, that lawmakers can effectively spur economic vitality by offering tax credits, exemptions, and deductions to specific companies […]

Is South Carolina “Business Friendly” ?

THE ANSWER DEPENDS ON WHO YOU ARE Many government officials in South Carolina, particularly elected officials, take pride in frequently announcing that South Carolina is one of the most business friendly states in the nation. These pronouncements (here’s another) makes the state sound like a paradise of economic freedom, where opportunity is ensured for all […]

How to Create 10,000 Jobs

…MORE OR LESS. In the 1990s, politicians spoke constantly about “the children” and/or “education.” Now they tend to talk about “jobs,” as if the whole purpose of government were to create them. South Carolina’s governor and legislators, for example, tout the jobs they “create” through taxpayer handouts to already successful companies like Boeing and Amazon […]

It’s a Trap!

HOW SOUTH CAROLINA FELL INTO GORDON TULLOCK’S “TRANSITIONAL GAINS TRAP” At a recent debate sponsored by the Policy Council on the merits of taxpayer-financed “incentives” – the headline for the event was “Economic Incentives: Capitalism or Corporate Welfare?” – moderator Pete Calcagno of the College of Charleston referred briefly to the concept of “transitional gains.” […]

How Much Does the Machine Really Cost?

WHAT IS THAT THING, AND WHY ARE WE PAYING SO MUCH FOR IT? Read Quantifying the Machine, the Policy Council’s report on the costs of economic development, here. For other material on state-driven economic development, click here. In the report, we reveal that state government now spends hundreds of millions of dollars on “economic development” each budget […]

The House Budget’s Five Worst Economic Development Provisos

Next year, the state of South Carolina will receive around $25 million dollars from the National Mortgage Settlement, a joint federal-state lawsuit against loan servicers awarded to parties affected by illegal housing foreclosures. In the House Budget’s Proviso 90.19, state legislators have decided, confusingly, to apportion this entire settlement to economic development. Despite attempts by legislators to introduce provisos that would use the money for its intended purpose, this proviso sends the entire award to the Deal Closing Fund at the Department of Commerce, a yearly appropriation used to “sweeten the pot” for economic incentive deals that ranges from $5 million to $10 million.