Stop undermining Haleys excellent economic performance
BY BURNET R. MAYBANK III
and LEIGHTON LORD
Anyone involved in economic development can tell you that one of the most important factors in recruiting business is a cooperative state government. Not only should the taxes be low and the regulations reasonable, but the state must have leaders who are willing to work with companies on transportation, permitting and pro-business legislation. On top of that, you need leaders who are willing and able to aggressively sell our state.
For the first time in a long time, the General Assembly and the governor’s office are in sync on economic development. Gov. Nikki Haley has also brought new and focused attention to economic development in South Carolina — and her efforts are paying off.
Our governor is not only willing and able to sell our state, she is very, very good at it. She may be the best business recruiter in the country, and her results show it:
» Area Development named South Carolina a 2011 Gold Shovel Award winner in recognition of economic development projects undertaken in 2010.
» South Carolina also received Area Development’s “Project of the Year” award for work on the First Quality Tissue project in Anderson.
»South Carolina consistently ranks high on Site Selection magazine’s “Top State Business Climates,” and in 2011 took the fifth spot overall and placed seventh in the magazine’s survey of corporate real estate executives. The magazine’s New Plant Database showed that South Carolina had the most new projects per capita during 2010.
» Area Development put South Carolina fourth on its Top States for Doing Business list, based on 12 key site selection criteria.
» The South Carolina Department of Commerce earned a second-place Silver Award in Business Facilities’ 2011 Economic Development Dear of the Year competition for the new Continental Tire the Americas (CTA) plant in Sumter County.
A recent article in The Wall Street Journal, entitled “Why S.C. Works,” laid out the compelling reasons why companies are moving to the Palmetto State. While our state is benefitting from a manufacturing surge in the United States, South Carolina is unique in that our technical colleges and universities are working closely with companies to tailor education to the needs of companies.
From the Lowcountry to the Upstate, this administration has seen the value in pairing education with workforce development. Companies like BMW and GE are hiring South Carolina graduates who are able to transition into the workforce fully prepared to start on day one.
In spite of our recent success, many in South Carolina seem determined to drag our state down.
The recent pursuit of an ethics investigation into Gov. Haley’s time as a legislator is a prime example. The minute our state is praised by the national media for our business acumen, politicians and irresponsible bloggers try to undercut the praise with petty politics.
There is no greater detriment to the future of South Carolina and our ability to bring and create jobs than the infighting that occurs in Columbia.
For the governor’s part, we greatly admire her ability to focus on what really matters and staying true to her reputation as the “Jobs Governor.” She has continued her relentless pursuit of recruiting businesses and if history is any judge, she will continue to do her job in spite of those who seek to hold back our state.
Many companies that we have spoken with are utterly confused by the destructive attempts to hurt the governor.
In a state that is controlled by Republicans, they don’t understand why members of the same party would attack the sitting governor when so much has been accomplished. We couldn’t agree more.
Now is a time when South Carolinians should be standing arm in arm with the governor to help her recruit companies to this state and continue to bring our unemployment rate down.
Our small state faces plenty of challenges without political infighting in Columbia being added to the list. We hope the people of this state can focus on what state leaders should be focusing on — making South Carolina the most business-friendly state in the America.
Burnet R. Maybank III is former director of the state Department of Revenue. Leighton Lord is a member of the Santee Cooper board. Both are lawyers with Nexsen Pruet, LLP.