BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — “Project Soccer” has been kicked back and forth between the Carolinas for months, but it seems the Palmetto State has scored.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley plans a major economic development announcement tomorrow in Sumter County. Word among North Carolina lawmakers is that officials from Continental Tire will announce their decision to build a factory south of the border, but what does losing this huge deal mean for our future?
Rep. Dewey Hill (D-20th District) says losing this deal will be a huge wake-up call to state legislators. He says he hopes they go after future deals more aggressively. Rep. Danny McComas (R-19th District) agrees and says something needs to change.
“We’re not leaving any stone unturned,” McComas said Wednesday. “We’re going to do everything we can to make sure we provide the jobs we so badly need in southeastern North Carolina.”
But “Project Soccer,” the code name for Continental Tire’s newest manufacturing plant, would provide our area with hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in investments. The company is believed to be considering land near the Brunswick-Columbus County line for the factory.
“The decision has not been made as of yet, so we’re still at the table, and we’re still doing everything we can to make it happen,” McComas said.
If South Carolina lands this deal, it will be the second tire plant to pump up the Palmetto State’s economy in a month. Bridgestone Americas is planning to expand its plant in Aiken by adding 850 new jobs to the area.
So why is it so hard for us to compete?
“We need to offer these industries an opportunity to come in so they’ll bring all of these other support industries,” McComas said. “If we are able to do that, we could certainly reduce our corporate tax rates and have a snowball effect.”
McComas says South Carolina put more cash incentives on the table, while North Carolina wanted to pay out its incentives over time. He says the problems lie within state government.
“You’ve got the governor, you’ve got the House, you’ve got the Senate, and we all need to get together and find a way to make it happen,” McComas said.
According to a South Carolina newspaper, “A state economic development board that approves incentive packages is set to meet at 10 a.m. on Thursday. They only item on the agenda is ‘a confidential economic development project’ in Sumter County.” Sumter is the other location Continental is believed to be considering.
Despite what lawmakers have told us, a spokeswoman for Continental Tire says she does not know of any announcement scheduled by company officials.