Letters to the Editor

Voice of the People - March 8, 2008

State shouldn't offer incentives to company

So, Continental Tire is moving its North American headquarters 12 miles from Charlotte to Lancaster County. Lancaster County's public leaders have OK'd tax incentives, or are entertaining the idea of tax incentives for Continental to move there; so is the state.

Who makes these decisions, and do those who make the decisions morally connect the dots? In July 2006, CTNA suspended production at its Charlotte facility and sent those jobs to Brazil and other foreign nations, creating turmoil for almost 1,000 people in the Carolinas. Due to the close proximity of the facility to South Carolina, several hundred of these former employees and retirees were form South Carolina, and scores are from Lancaster County. The loss of those jobs created a tax burden on Lancaster County and the state of South Carolina, and had a negative impact on commerce.

Not only that, soon after the production suspension, Continental Tire implemented terms requiring some of its retirees to pay over $1,600 for health care or do without health care entirely. This certainly devastated some Lancaster County residents. In August 2007, due to a lawsuit filed on behalf of those retirees, a federal judge ruled in their favor on the issue of the much deserved health-care benefits. Continental Tire then appealed the judge's decision, and now, seven months after the ruling, Continental Tire is still dragging its feet while those retirees suffer unduly.

When CTNA decided to move its North American headquarters to Charlotte in the mid 1990s, it received an incentive package from several North Carolina-based government groups. What's next after CTNA gets the goodies out of South Carolina? Georgia?

The move will result in little if any extra employment for the county or the state because 12 miles is nothing, and those who are employed there will simply drive the extra miles. How do the taxpayers of Lancaster County and the state of South Carolina feel about subsidizing a corporation that already has taken away thousands of dollars from the county and state and continues to harm your neighbors? These tax breaks amount to a corporate welfare package, and are a freebie that rewards bad behavior. It's simply not morally right nor, in this case, economically prudent to give taxpayer money to a corporation that turns its backs on our neighbors, especially when there is little in return from it. How much longer will South Carolina and local governments within the state continue to be stooges for unscrupulous corporations?

Mark West

Rock Hill

Pettus knows state history

Thanks to Louise Pettus for another enlightening letter. Louise is a true jewel, and no one, and I mean no one, knows more about South Carolina history, especially that of the "Black Corner." As great as the "Swamp Fox" was, that would be a tough name to cheer for as a USC faithful. Keep on keeping it straight, Louise.

Martin Hope

Rock Hill