- Dick Harpootlian
Carolina Panthers Expansion into SC
Over the last few weeks, there has been a lot of news about the potential expansion of the Carolina Panthers organization into South Carolina. The Panthers are hoping to move through a plan that would offer them an estimated 120 million dollars in economic incentives to move their headquarters, and about 150 employees, into Rock Hill.
The economic impacts of this deal have supposedly been studied by the Commerce Department, but their report has been kept secret. The majority of members of the legislature, and more importantly the public, have not seen the impact of this deal. These are your tax dollars, and you deserve to know if this is worthy of our investment.
Still, the House passed legislation approving the incentive package based only on assurances that the package would provide economic benefits to our state.
This week, the legislation moved over to the Senate for our consideration. As was to be expected, there was a move to pass the bill through quickly, even though we still do not have public information about the benefits of the bill. I put my objection on S. 655.
In the Senate, any senator can object to a bill. This holds up the process of getting the bill passed until a two-thirds overriding vote can be passed. Every senator gets five of these objections and I deemed this piece of legislation important enough to use one of my five.
If I were to buy a copier for my office, I would have gotten more information about the purchase than we have gotten about this deal. Rushing through these deals is exactly the type of culture that allowed for the Base Load Review Act to be passed in 2007 – resulting in devastation for our state. We cannot allow this type of hasty decision making to continue.
I applaud the Governor for working to bring more jobs and investment to our state. However, I don’t believe we need to do so by compromising a process that allows for us to see and evaluate the proposed benefits of the deal. If the report is made public, we can fully evaluate the impact of this deal, and if there is consensus the bill will be good for our state, I will fully support the move.
As always, it is my goal to keep you engaged with my work in the State Senate. If you wish to contact me, please reach out at Dick@Harpootlianforsenate.com, and I will be in touch.