Incentive Given To Lowe’s Garners Criticism


November 19, 2008

Associated Press

A plan by the Manning City Council to give $900,000 to help lure a Lowe’s Cos. Inc. home improvement store — and with it 75 jobs — has been criticized by local retailers who say it will hurt their businesses and force them to cut workers.

“They’re giving a multibillion dollar company almost a million dollars to come here,” Tad Graham, owner of Geddings Hardware in Manning, told The Sumter Item. “If they wanted a bigger hardware store, they could have given that money to some of the local businesses and helped us expand.”

Manning Mayor Kevin Johnson said the Mooresville, N.C.-based retailer asked City Council for help with the cost of removing an old Wal-Mart building where Lowe’s wants to build.

“We saw it as an opportunity to provide, as Lowe’s told us, about 75 full-time jobs, with full benefits, and 25 part-time jobs,” Johnson said. “It will cost them over a million dollars to tear down the old Wal-Mart, which is an eyesore for all of us.”

Last year, the Legislature approved, over the governor’s veto, a law to lure large retailers to South Carolina through sales tax incentives. At the time, Gov. Mark Sanford said giving one retailer a tax break for moving to an area gave them a benefit over other retailers.

“We’re not going to second-guess local decisions,” Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer said in an e-mail statement Tuesday. “But we do question anyone providing incentives to retail establishments …”


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