Wednesday, April 17, 2013

From the House

Bluffton Today

We are well into the festivities surrounding the RBC Heritage, Presented by Boeing. There are thousands of folks enjoying the golf along with our spectacular Lowcountry springtime. As much as the Heritage is about golf and tradition and fun, it is also about business. All those hospitality tents and skyboxes are great for watching the tournament, but you can be sure there are a ton of deals being made, customers shown proper appreciation, and good contacts being converted into good customers.

You have heard me talk for years about the millions of dollars of direct economic benefit to our area from this stellar event. The indirect benefit, whether it is socializing with potential customers in a pleasant atmosphere or seeing gorgeous images of fabulous Hilton Head Island on international television, simply dwarfs the millions in direct inflows. What we are talking about is jobs for our local folks, jobs for our region, and increased investment creating more jobs around our great state. This was the reason your representative and your entire delegation fought tooth and nail to preserve this event and its immense job creation capability.

As chairman of Provisos Subcommittee of Ways and Means Committee, I have been privileged to participate in the decision making process that has brought literally thousands of good jobs to our state. We have improved South Carolina’s business climate through tax and regulatory reforms, so that our efforts have successfully attracted the Michelins and BMWs, and now Boeing to our state. This is a tribute to our worker preparation and availability, but also to the efforts we have made to provide incentives that speak to the needs of the companies, large and small, that wish to locate in our state. Our successes have not only been relative to our regional competitors, but in relation to competitive offerings around the globe.
For example, our colleagues in the Senate approved a $120 million bond package to assist Boeing in a major expansion to its already substantial facility in North Charleston. In exchange, Boeing will invest another billion dollars and hire an additional 2000 employees to meet a greatly expanded mission for our part of its global business.

Without well-trained and educated employees, our incentive packages would be meaningless. This is why people like Tom Leitzel at Technical College of the Lowcountry and Jane Upshaw at USCB are so critical to the economic success of our state. It is also why I use every resource at my disposal to support their educational efforts.

When the process works like it should, all the parts support and complement each other, preparing our young people for careers or retraining older workers for new jobs. These well-prepared potential employees meet the needs of industries that find the business climate of our state attractive for the location of their production facilities. We have made tremendous progress in refining the process, which is exemplified by the great economic strides we are currently seeing.

Bringing the focus back to local folks, I want to congratulate Marc and Jaclyn Orlando as they welcome a nearly eight pound son, Benjamin Anthony Orlando, to their growing family. These are lovely folks and we wish them the best.

Many of you know Marc as a creative mainstay at the town of Bluffton. Even as Jaclyn was at Hilton Head Hospital preparing for the big event, Marc was confronted with a situation where a series of miscommunications had jeopardized the opportunity for a worthy veteran to buy one of the nice cottages the town had built in Old Town. Marc managed to assemble all the participants, smooth over the confusion, and bring the matter to a good close. There is a new freeholder in Bluffton, and Marc has demonstrated once again the true meaning of “public servant.”