Monday, September 13, 2010

Economic development creates spinoff effect

Bluffton Today

I’d like to conclude my comments
begun several weeks ago on the Coastal
Caucus meetings in Myrtle Beach. There
is little doubt that bringing Boeing to the
Charleston area was the culmination of
years of serious preparation and conversation
among ahost of parties, both
inside and outside government.

The economic benefits of the plant
are impressive, but for me the spinoff
affect is where much of the enduring
gains will be found. The fact is that 91
percent of the components of the airliners
assembled in Charleston are from
South Carolina firms.

Some of these businesses were already here and
tooled up for Boeing, while many others
located here, bought property, built buildings
and hired local folks to work for them.

The skills and the capacities involved in
these Boeing-related suppliers are now the basis
for attracting other manufacturers to our area.

The new businesses need facilities,
vehicles, consulting services, computers,
office furniture and a whole gamut
of goods and services that will further
stimulate our economy.

The intangibles that come from this
general feeling of renewed prosperity
are also certainly a factor in our
conversations with potential additions
to the business community. Success
begets success. This is why your representative
invests so much time and
energy working with Kim Statler and
the Lowcountry Economic Network.

Each time we bring a CareCore to
Bluffton, or a Boeing to Charleston, or
even a BMW to the Upstate, we expand
our foundation to support further
successes.

As chairman of the Economic Development
Subcommittee of Ways and Means, these are
stories I enjoy sharing second look at South Carolina.

As we look further downstream to
the Jasper Port and all the potential
spinoff that will entail, we can begin
to see the outline of a more balanced,
less visitor-based economy.

While tourism is certainly a productive
economic engine, having all our
eggs in that fragile basket sometimes
keeps me up nights. Witness the recent
disaster visited upon our friends along
the Gulf Coast.

Even over the holiday, I heard from
many of you — almost 300 of you, in
fact. While I will never take for granted
the excellent level of communication I
have with you, it is particularly important
at this time.

I am working with Chairman
Weston Newton and County Council,
along with the municipalities, in putting
together our legislative agenda for
the next session of the General Assembly.

We are discussing, along with
County Councilman Jerry Stewart,
what needs to be done to keep S.C. 170
safely passable until it is widened. We
are looking at the transportation issues
on Daufuskie Island.

This place is such a gem and could
be enjoyed by many more folks if getting
to and from the island was not so
problematic. I am also hearing from
many of you about the current limitations
on golf cart travel. That measure
will be reintroduced on the first day of
session.

Finally, let’s take afew moments at
the end of summer, before all the festivals
and holidays that come along with
the cooler weather of Fall, to simply
take stock of all the good things that
are happening, especially in Bluffton.

By most reports, business in the
shops, galleries and restaurants of old
town is booming. We survived the road
construction and traffic is certainly
manageable for the time being.

Now might be a perfect time to
adopt that attitude of gratitude that
seems to deepen our appreciation
of the good times as well as fortify us.