S.C. economic development success over the past sixteen months exemplifies the popular slogan “been on a roll” in the record number of new business announcements choosing our state to locate and expand. As of January 2011, the new announcements include;
• Bridgestone American Tire – building a LEED-certified 1.5 million-square-foot facility to build off-the-road radial tires in Aiken. This expansion is in addition to a 474,000- and 266,000- square-foot expansion to expand its production of passenger and light-truck tires. The total investment is $1.2 billion and the creation of 850 new jobs.
• Continental Tire – announced on Oct. 6, 2011 its plans to expand its plant in Sumter, which represents an investment of $534 million with the creation of 1,700 new jobs.
• Michelin- announced expansions in Anderson representing millions of dollars in new investments and jobs
• BMW – announced the expansion of its present facilities to produce the BMW X 3 and X 5, representing an investment of more than $900 million and in excess of 300 jobs.
The expansion of the above tire manufacturers gives South Carolina the distinct honor of being the No. 1 tire producer in the Nation. This success has not gone unnoticed by our utility providers, as the electric co-ops and Santee Cooper have announced a rate reduction that could result in a savings of more than 20 percent for our new industries.
The tremendous success has been a result of Governor Nikki Haley’s tireless efforts to recruit new industry and business expansion into our great state. The results speak for themselves; as of January 2011 more than 23,000 new jobs have been created and more than $5 billion in new investment made in our great state. She has followed through on her campaign promise to make our state business friendly and to focus on providing good-paying jobs to our more than 4.3 million citizens. I have witnessed firsthand her commitment to not only bring the large trophy companies into the state, but her follow-through on recruiting smaller companies such as Perma-Shrink, which produces elastic products all over the world. She made a personal visit to Clover in September 2011 to tout the company and its decision to build in our community. Her selection of Bobby Hitt to lead the S.C. Department of Commerce has been a real “shot in the arm” as he brings savvy and dogged determination to recruiting and maintaining new and existing business.
In a time when the majority of states are struggling economically, South Carolina is a shining example of steadfast focus and dedication to providing the business- friendly economic tools necessary to expand and maintain new and thriving businesses.
Ralph Norman (R-Rock Hill) is an S.C. House Rep. from District 48.