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Diverse Coalition Says Sembler Project Bad for SC

March 9, 2010

NEWS from the South Carolina Policy Council

March 9, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

‘South Carolina Is Not for Sale’

Diverse Coalition Says Sembler Project Bad for SC

Leaders of prominent South Carolina groups held a joint press conference today in the rotunda of the Statehouse to voice concerns surrounding a proposal to use taxpayer dollars to subsidize an upscale mall in the Lowcountry.

The S.C. Policy Council, S.C. Coastal Conservation League, SC Association of Taxpayers and the S.C. Club for Growth said the Sembler project is bad for the economy and the environment, and charged that the deal would hurt existing businesses and cost taxpayers.

Lawmakers are considering tax breaks of up to $175 million dollars that will help the (Georgia-based) Sembler Corporation build the Okatie Crossings Mall in Jasper County.

Retail incentive deals are not good for the economy and they force existing businesses to subsidize their competition.  This is a short-sighted, politically motivated proposal that will benefit an out-of-state developer and a few lobbyists.  Teachers are taking unpaid leave, law enforcement officers are doing double duty and legislators are threatening to let criminals out of prison — they have no business giving away tax dollars to a private company.

Economists who analyzed the plan concluded that there will be no net benefit to the state’s economy and no net job creation.  In fact, they suggest existing retailers will actually lose business and possibly employees.

“Most taxpayers probably wouldn’t invest in a mall right now if they were given the choice,” said Landess.  “It is ridiculous for legislators to even consider doing so in this economy.  Lawmakers need to understand they are not spending their own money and start proving they can make prudent decisions with public dollars.”

For more information about the S.C. Policy Council, please contact Lauren Leach at lauren@scpolicycouncil.com or at 803-779-5022, Ext. 119.

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