The Editorial Board of the South Carolina Post & Courier took a searing look at the way economic development subsidies are used in the state. As Good Jobs First reported, no public schools lose more to corporate welfare than those in South Carolina. And a striking thing about the way the deals are done? Schools have no say over the revenue other localities give away on their behalf.
While the country mourns yet another mass shooting, one sad, obscure truth in this debate is the fact that the companies producing weapons are being subsidized by communities across the country. While a full accounting of how much the public gifts to gun makers is hampered by poor transparency practices, but we know for sure that the companies have received millions of dollars, often just to relocate.
A new report by Good Jobs First found South Carolina schools lost out on $2.2 billion over the last five years that instead went toward corporate tax breaks. The nonprofit research group found no other state reported more lost school tax revenue to corporations than South Carolina.
South Carolina is a state that’s given large subsidies to big companies – Boeing, Michelin, Volvo, Continental Tire, Google to name a few – and it’s also been one of the worst in the country when it comes to revealing the full costs of those deals.
Boeing is ending production of the 787 Dreamliner at Everett, Washington, and moving it to its newer facility in North Charleston, South Carolina. The company says this is the most efficient approach to reducing production of the jet from 10 per year to six per year in response to falling demand due to the coronavirus pandemic. Moving production to South Carolina means that more than 1,000 Boeing workers at its Everett plant will likely lose their jobs as they no longer have a model to build.
Good Jobs First talked with education expert Dr. Kendall Deas about the role corporate incentives and subsidies play in South Carolina, which in fiscal year 2019 cost the state’s public schools $423 million – a $99 million increase in two years, according to our analysis. The findings raise a key question: do newly arriving companies that get big tax breaks pay their fair share for the public services they and their employees utilize?
Under state law counties award massive economic subsidies and tax incentives — even though school districts lose the most revenue. Last year these corporate tax breaks cost South Carolina public schools $423 million, an astonishing increase of $99 million from FY 2017.
Swedish automaker Volvo has chosen South Carolina over Georgia and North Carolina for its first car-making facility in the United States. A hefty subsidy package of more than $200 million helped the state close the deal.