Why Ethics Reform?

 2013 WAS SUPPOSED TO BE THE ‘YEAR OF ETHICS REFORM.’ IT WASN’T. SO DOES ANYONE CARE? At the conclusion of the 2013 legislative session, as the Senate prepared to vote on the legislature’s only attempt to reform the state’s ethics code – the bill was killed – Senator Luke Rankin (R-Horry) made the claim that […]

Renewable Energy: What’s the State’s Role?

HOW STATE FAVORITISM HURTS TAXPAYERS AND DRIVES UP ENERGY PRICES An attempt to loosen South Carolina energy regulation and licensing constraints for the benefit of solar energy firms has gained a fair amount of attention recently. A bill now in the legislature seeks to enable a process by which solar companies lease solar panels to […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Is the ‘Incentives Game’ Worth It?

In South Carolina, 2011 turned out to be a watershed year in at least one respect. For the first time, the merits of government-driven “economic development,” and especially the use of economic “incentives,” became the subject of serious and widespread public debate. Before this year, politicians and other officials could speak of using “incentives” to […]

Category: Commentary · Tags: