By Paul Gable
The past two days we have attempted to discover the source of a door hanger, that Grand Strand Daily has labeled “dirty tricks”. The door hanger appears to be a push piece favoring one candidate in the House District 56 race while claiming to be a non-partisan informational message to voters.
That quest continues as we are awaiting information from Freedom Works Southeast Regional Director Allen Page as to who printed and who paid for the door hanger. We were told yesterday that Page had all the information and would be in contact with Grand Strand Daily.
Regardless of the provenance of the door hanger and whether it is in fact a partisan piece, one question addressed on it falls into another area of dirty tricks that is much more egregious, in our opinion.
“Would you support tax incentives” is the third question down the list. While the question is overly broad, it appears to address the question of tax incentives offered by governmental agencies in the attempt to lure business to a particular area. In our opinion, this is a key question for all candidates to answer.
We have spent countless words opposing the $24-$30 million public dollar giveaway to a startup call center operation called Covation, better known as the infamous Project Blue. The project was one of the key issues in Monday night’s 7th Congressional District debate with Republican candidate and current county council chairman Tom Rice attempting to justify his support of this government giveaway.
The Myrtle Beach International Airport is in the midst of a $130 million expansion of terminal facilities at the same time that passenger traffic into the airport is on a double digit decline. The only positive thing that can be said about this project is at least it is not the nearly $500 million new terminal project that was first proposed in the early 2000’s.
A press release by the airport several days ago announcing still another double digit decline in September passenger traffic versus last year’s statistics, assured that demand for Myrtle Beach as a destination is still strong.
The problem is the airlines serving Myrtle Beach have cut capacity, according to the statement. There is only one reason airlines cut capacity – they are not filling the seats they already have scheduled.
But, now we hear of a new plan being hatched at the airport where the county will guarantee a certain percent of capacity whether the seats on flights are filled or not. If a flight is not filled to a certain, agreed upon minimum capacity, the county will pay the difference to the airline. In other words, the county will be using public dollars to guarantee revenue to a private business, again.
There may, at times, be reasons to offer public dollar incentives to private business. However, after observing, over the last 29 years, the use in Horry County of TIF’s, multi county business parks, tax abatements, cost sharing and straight cash payments by government to private business, we doubt it.
Putting a stop to subsidies of private business with public money is a necessity, in our opinion. They are nothing more than dirty tricks being played on hard working taxpayers and non-subsidized businesses to favor a few. Furthermore, we aren’t the only media outlet concerned with public dollar incentives to private business.
Click on the link below to see what “The Nerve” is saying about this problem at the state level.