Harmony County

2011 & 2009 Winner of "Best Humor Column" awarded by the SC Press Association

Off again, on again, here again, Finnegan

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It seems that cooler heads have prevailed when it came to the Amazon distribution center coming to Lexington.

If you recall, former Governor Mark ‘the Hiker’ Sanford negotiated a deal with the huge internet retail company to come to the Lexington County Business Park and establish a distribution center.

The center was to employ 1240 people and Amazon said that the minimum annual salary was to be $30,000 meaning that at least a $37,200,000 payroll was going to be paid out to South Carolina workers. That is the minimum!

In return, Amazon got free land in the Business Park. They did not have to pay S.C. sales taxes on items shipped to S.C. customers for five years and a few other bennies.

Just think what a 37 mega buck shot in the arm would do for the Midlands. At this writing, there is an 11% unemployment rate statewide. Lexington County is a tad over 9% and Richland County is at about 12 %. Those percentages would drop. The housing market is not exactly booming. These jobs would have a beneficial effect on that industry. State income taxes would also rise along with other county taxes.

Other businesses would also benefit. United Parcel Service would probably have to expand. Local retailers, restaurants, convenience stores, and god knows who else would eventually get a piece of the action.

All was going along nicely until an organization called, “The SC Alliance for Main Street Fairness” appeared. They were supposed to represent Main Street businesses that would be crushed if the evil Amazon giant would be visited upon the suffering Mom and Pop businesses struggling to stay afloat.

I do not know about your Main Street, but mine is about 50% empty storefronts, law offices, restaurants, and an odd business or two and it has been that way for years since the arrival of the mega-stores on the outskirts of town. Wal-Mart, Lowes, Home Depot, Target, and others are the ones that eliminated local business and, incidentally, are funding the ‘Alliance’.

Amazon represents a big threat to the chain stores. For example, I bought a memory chip for my camera over the internet for $6.87. It was retailing for $27. So, if Amazon wanted to put a distribution center on Mars the heavy hitters would have a hissy fit.

The deal went to the State Legislature where it was turned down. Amazon promptly packed up and moved out followed by two other companies promising 1200 additional jobs with it. S.C., in-turn, got a national reputation as ‘welchers’ when it came to business deals.

Then somebody up at the state house conducted a quick class in remedial math and laid out the numbers. There allegedly was some old fashion arm-twisting and on a second vote, the deal was overwhelmingly passed. It is now up to the state Senate to finalize the deal.

By the way, Amazon also sweetened the deal. Now 2,000 jobs are coming and that represents at least a $60,000,000 annual Midlands paycheck.© 2011, Harmony County


Written by harmonycounty

May 26, 2011 at 4:42 p05

Posted in Americana, Humor, Politics

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