Richland County, SC — Three cheers to Richland County for not rolling over to extend economic incentives to Costco to open a store in the Midlands. While the addition of Costco would have been welcome, the apparent cost of such a transaction was most certainly not worth the benefit.
Economic incentives should be reserved for companies that will have a significant impact on the economy. That’s because such incentives are inherently unfair to existing business. Why, for example, should a new company be granted a reduction in property taxes or provided infrastructure improvements that existing businesses, which currently pay property taxes and employ local citizens, do not enjoy? From time to time, prospects come along that offer tremendous benefits to the community in terms of employment, ancillary business and tax revenue without placing existing businesses at a competitive disadvantage. Such prospects may be worthy of economic incentives, but another retail establishment hardly falls into this category.
Our community is an attractive environment for retail businesses, which is why Costco was interested in the first place.
The policy of refusing to give economic incentives to retailers makes good sense; we should stick with it.