Gov. Mark Sanford recently wrote a letter to the head of Cabela's saying that South Carolina would welcome the giant outdoor-outfitter to the state.
But his note also stressed Sanford's distaste for giving tax breaks to the Nebraska-based chain, which is considering North Charleston for a new store.
The governor reiterated his concerns about incentives for retailers during stops in Charleston and Duncan Wednesday. At issue is recently passed state legislation offering tax breaks to "extraordinary" retailers such as Cabela's and its main competitor, Bass Pro Shops.
Supporters of the enticements say they're justified because the expansive stores create jobs, draw tourists and spur economic development by attracting "spin-off" businesses, such as hotels and restaurants.
But Sanford and other opponents say the tax breaks are unfair to local business owners and could open a "Pandora's box" in the future, leading other large retailers to demand similar perks.
"We don't think it makes common sense to penalize local retailers to bring new business to the state," Sanford said during a stop at Haddrell's Point Tackle in West Ashley, flanked by fishing poles and a number of local business owners.
Most local retailers who attended Wednesday's event said they opposed subsidizing large chain stores with tax dollars, especially because they already struggle to compete with big-box stores' lower prices.
"We all struggle to make a living here," said Dee Meador, a manager at Luden's outdoor shop in downtown Charleston. "It's not fair to pay (another retailer) to come in," he said.
See Thursday's Post and Courier for the full story.