More Dirty Tricks

October 25, 2012 9:00 AMViews: 1075

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.

http://thenerve.org/news/2012/10/24/Incentives-State/

 

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2 Comments

  • On the airport, they really needed to relocate the thing out to Hwy 31 in the “country”. There was plenty of room for any sort of expansion, it would have been much more accessible to not only the Grand Strand but Florence and Wilmington as well.

    But the City Council wanted nothing to do with that, as they didn’t want to give full control to the County, even thought that is what would be best for “the people”.

    Now, we are still stuck with a landlocked airport that has terrible access (sure, the new Harrelson Blvd. is great, but to get to Harrelson Blvd. can be a nightmare).

    But, as you print, this area has been dying the past few years (regardless of what the talking heads want you to believe). Airport traffic is down tremendously, which is due to a lack of tourists (and the airline tourists are usually the ones that spend more once here).

    We now have countless hotels, that, during the height of summer, have rooms for $40 to $50 a night right on the beach (even cheaper across the street). These are the same hotels that would sell those rooms for double that.

    Yeah, “it’s working”……

  • Daniel Cochran

    Mr. Gable,

    You were sent this earlier according to Allen:

    October 25, 2012

    Statement from Allen Page, Southeast Regional Director, FreedomWorks

    Yesterday, I released the following statement. The statement was sent to Mr. Paul Gable.

    “FreedomWorks has developed voter education literature for decades, and mailed each candidate running for seats in the South Carolina House and Senate a copy of its 2013 -2014 South Carolina Legislative Issues Questionnaire. Fiscal conservative Mike Ryhal received a perfect score in his responses, while his opponent Dennis DiSabato, Jr. did not respond to the questionnaire at all. Instead, Mr. DiSabato had campaign representatives contact a SuperPAC intern who would have no knowledge of c4 literature. We look forward to hearing Dennis DiSabato explain his economic positions during the debate this week, rather than continuing to divert attention away from the critical economic issues facing our community this year.”

    Apparently, this statement did not thoroughly address concerns stated by Mr. Paul Gable. I will attempt to address Mr. Gable’s concerns.

    As we have done for many years and in many states, FreedomWorks staff developed a questionnaire, the 2013-2012 South Carolina Legislative Issues Questionnaire, to be sent to all candidates for South Carolina State Senate and State House. FreedomWorks paid for the printing and mailing. All candidates for South Carolina State Senate and State House were sent the questionnaire. A due date of September 24, 2012 was clearly stated at the top of the questionnaire. Mike Ryhal returned his completed questionnaire. Dennis DiSabato did not return a questionnaire. FreedomWorks staff designed the voter education piece based on Ryhal’s responses and DiSabato’s lack of response. Copies of the voter education piece were shipped to FreedomWorks activists in the district for distribution. FreedomWorks paid for the printing and the shipping. The exact process was followed in several other South Carolina State Senate and State House districts as well as in other states.

    A mail piece identical to the door hanger has also been designed and paid for by FreedomWorks. Like the door hangers, all aspects of the voter education mail piece: printing and mailing costs, were paid for by FreedomWorks.

    Allen Page

    Southeast Regional Director

    FreedomWorks

    If I may be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me at a.page@mindspring.com.

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