Re Aug. 21 letter by Betsy Fay, “What guarantees do we have on incentives?”
Ms. Betsy Fay noted the importance of protecting the taxpayer when incentives are offered to companies considering the Grand Strand, and her comments were right on point. As she notes, 1,020 new jobs to our area would be “great.” We agree! If the EDC is successful in locating Project Blue, the project will have an unprecedented economic impact on our community of over $75 million annually. 1,020 jobs will also provide year long, stable employment for a host of people with great benefits, and the success of this project will catapult our economic development program and send a strong signal to the U.S. that Myrtle Beach and Horry County is open for business and serious about creating good paying jobs.
In response to her great question related to taxpayer protections, rest assured that any economic development deal we structure has undergone months of due diligence and has multiple layers of protections built in. No economic development project is risk free, but the reputation and track record of our client, coupled with layers of contractual protections built in the agreements mitigate the lion’s share of any possible community risk. Based on an economic impact analysis and the huge amount of direct, indirect jobs and new tax revenue generated from this company, the community will be reimbursed for the incentives in the very first year of the company’s operations. In addition to other protections we have put in place, the community will have lien interests on furniture, fixtures and equipment and a corporate guarantee for payback if the company doesn’t perform. The only direct incentive investment Horry County is making is $1.25 million for furniture, fixtures and equipment, and this is a minimal amount in the economic development field for such a quality company with this amount of new jobs and massive economic impact.
With this economy, our team is simply delighted to have the opportunity to even discuss the possibility of locating a 1,000-plus job economic development project, and we are grateful to this community for your aggressive support of our efforts. It is a great pleasure to serve you!
The writer is president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corp.