Palmetto Sunrise: After Volvo win, it’s back to work for Senate

A plan by Sen. Harvey Peeler, R- Cherokee, may push aside a bond debate. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)

Legislators and Gov. Nikki Haley rejoiced Monday in news that Volvo would set up its first American shop in South Carolina. Today brings more acrimonious debate, particularly for the Senate.

The main item is a bill that would borrow $237 million for infrastructure projects.

A similar bond bill — to fund higher education and workforce training projects — has already been defeated in the House and Gov. Nikki Haley has vowed to veto it. But it’ll likely get its last chance for the year this week as Senate Pro Tempore Hugh Leatherman and others push it.

Some senators are hoping to avoid the debate by siding with Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler’s idea to create a committee to study the state’s infrastructure needs — and whether the state should borrow money to meet them.

The committee, he said, would provide lawmakers a clear picture of immediate and long-term higher education needs, including the technical college system, and the state’s bond capacity and debt service.

“I think there’s still some political blood on the carpet over the bond debate in the House,” Peeler has said.

Sen. Larry Martin hopes to convince Leatherman and others that’s the way to go and avoid a rancorous debate over borrowing. “My view of it is if that (study committee) can be the path forward for resolving that I think that will be a really, really good thing if we don’t have to go through that,” he said.

Volvo: Received a $204 million state incentive package. About $150 million of it faces hurdles with the Joint Bond Review Committee and Budget and Control Board, although the package isn’t expected to face much opposition. The company hopes to create 4,000 jobs by 2030 at its $500 million facility.

Flashback: Gov. Haley criticized for reliance on incentives during campaign.

In other news...

Volvo’s Upstate effect could be big (Greenville News)

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