SUMMERVILLE - The American dream is not dead in South Carolina, Gov. Nikki Haley said in a stump before hundreds gathered at a business luncheon Thursday.
On the stump
Gov. Nikki Haley will make two stops in the Lowcountry Friday.
At 11 a.m. she will give the keynote address at the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce annual meeting at North Charleston Convention Center, Ballroom C, 5001 Coliseum Drive, North Charleston.
At 3:30 p.m. she will speak at the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors' fall meeting at Charleston Place Hotel, 205 Meeting Street, Charleston.
Touting the successes of her administration two months before voters decide if she deserves a second term, the Republican governor told business leaders at the Summerville/Dorchester County Chamber of Commerce event people say the American Dream is dead.
"I think we have a different story in South Carolina," Haley said.
Cutting jobless rolls by half, reducing the tax rate on small businesses, reducing the number of welfare recipients, working with lawmakers to set aside money for the deepening of Charleston Harbor and putting technology resources in rural classrooms are just a few of the items she cited in speaking for about 15 minutes.
Unemployment was 11.1 percent in 2011 when she took office. It is now 5.7 percent.
The tax rate on small businesses was cut to 3 percent from 5 percent to stimulate job growth. About 25,000 people on welfare when Haley took office now have paying jobs. Haley and lawmakers set aside $300 million to deepen Charleston Harbor so larger ships can navigate and the state can compete with other ports in the state's critical import-export industry. She helped allocate $177 million to education programs to try to lift children and young adults out of poverty.
The one thing she said she hasn't persuaded lawmakers to do is to get the state out of the school bus business.
"We need to lease our buses like every other state," she said.
Haley said South Carolina is where Boeing builds airplanes, BMW builds cars, Honda makes ATVs, an array of high-profile companies make tires and Toray Industries is investing $1 billion in the Upstate to make carbon fibers, like those used to manufacture composites for Boeing aircraft.
In all, she said 400 projects since 2011 have created 57,000 jobs in 45 of the 46 counties in South Carolina. McCormick County on the Savannah River between North Augusta and Anderson is the odd county out.
Twenty-three of those projects were in Charleston County, 17 were in Dorchester County and 11 in Berkeley County, according to Commerce Department spokeswoman Allison Skipper.
While Haley said there is still work to do, she said the state is moving in the right direction.
"We have something very special in South Carolina," she said. "We will succeed as a team."
The Democratic party, which is fielding state Sen. Vincent Sheheen of Kershaw against Haley in the Nov. 4 general election, said Thursday the governor uses smoke and mirrors when touting her job creation in the Palmetto State.
"The jobs she announces oftentimes don't pan out or don't come for years," said state Democratic Party spokeswoman Kristin Sosanie. "She disregards the harsh reality of what is going on in South Carolina. The truth is life is still tough for a lot of families. They are working less hours and earning less money and unable to find a job to support their families."
Haley also will face independent Tom Ervin, Libertarian Steve French and United Citizens Party candidate Morgan Bruce Reeves in November race for governor.
Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or twitter.com/warrenlancewise.