Invest in improving education
Re The Post and Courier editorial of Sept. 12 titled “No closed session on TIF”:
I am a retired executive of a Fortune 500 company, responsible in part for relocating operations and acquiring companies to enhance our public corporation’s growth prospects.
South Carolina was usually on our “short list” for potential locations due to many of its business-friendly agendas.
However, it rarely made the final cut for one key reason: the extremely poor education rating in every analysis undertaken for years.
Despite numerous doubts, our corporation once established a key aerospace manufacturing facility in the area, only to face obstacles in hiring or relocating professional employees unless we agreed to pay for their children to attend private schools. That facility no longer is a part of the corporation, and we have no other operations in the state.
Somehow our elected representatives fail to recognize education quality as a key shortcoming when they speak of what is important to the development of our region.
The current debate about a tax increment financing district for The Beach Company’s proposed development of Kiawah River Plantation is a prime example of misplaced priorities. The Beach Company is a highly successful privately owned enterprise that does not need, let alone deserve, public funding.
On the other hand, our school districts are near the bottom of every national ranking, and need and deserve all the funding they can get. Speaking as an executive who was responsible for where to locate and relocate business, South Carolina has many things in its favor. However, the No. 1 obstacle is the poor state of its education system and what that means for attracting and keeping professional employees with school-aged children.
The last thing we need to do is help the owners and investors in the privately owned and highly successful Beach Company become even more profitable at the expense of public education.
If our local representatives truly want to create an attractive and business-friendly environment, focus on education, not another resort development where the majority of property owners will not even have school-aged children.