Otis to Sanford: It’s not personal; it’s strictly business

You may recall that a while back I chided the head of the state Chamber for not taking a stand against (or for, for that matter) our governor during the stimulus farce (“Otis, tell him what YOU think,” April 30).

Well, Otis Rawl has gotten over his shyness about the gov, of so this item seems to indicate:

State chamber exec: Sanford’s departure now or later could benefit I-85 project

Embattled Gov. Mark Sanford’s woes could be good in the long run for a development off Interstate 85 and State 14 in Greer that legislators have said may include a Bass Pro Shop, according to the president of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce.

Sanford opposed special tax breaks for magnet retailers, such as Bass Pro, and “if everybody was playing by the same rules, that’s fine,” state chamber president Otis Rawl said.

But other states offer incentives, he said, adding “If we don’t play the game, we lose jobs.”

“I think that all that’s happening around Sanford and depending what Sanford does will lend itself positively to whether Bass Pro Shop decides to locate here,” Rawl said. “It’s awful hard for a company to look at South Carolina and your governor, who’s supposed to be your biggest cheerleader, not supporting trying to get a company that would create anywhere from 500 to 1,000 jobs in the community.”

A Sanford resignation would put Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer in power, who would be “one of our businesses’ biggest cheerleaders,” Rawl said.

If Sanford does not resign, “It’s got to be a step forward for us to look toward 2010 to have a new governor that focuses on jobs and economic development,” he said.

In other words, whether sooner or later, Otis — like many in positions of business or political leadership — is really looking forward to the day when Mark Sanford is out of office. And it’s nothing personal. It’s strictly business.

12 thoughts on “Otis to Sanford: It’s not personal; it’s strictly business

  1. Lee Muller

    If Otis Rawl and the SC Chamber of Commerce want to restore their credibility, they need to

    1. Advocate the removal of excessive regulations and taxes on small business.

    2. Oppose the government subsidies for a select few big businesses and developers. Make every business pay 100% of their own cost of development.

    3. Ask Congress to end all the H1-B visas for foreign tech workers and send them all back to India, China, and Russia.

    4. Push for a border fence and immigration enforcement, to deport all the illegal aliens. No medical care, no schooling, no welfare, no housing loans, no jobs. No government contracts for any employer caught hiring illegals.

  2. Greg Flowers

    For Rawl and his ilk jobs creation is a holy mantra and while it is important it is only one side of the equation. The bidding war between states for new jobs has reached the point where the incentives provided by the government often exceed the benefits of the new investment and the full picture is seldom examined by the Chamber of Commerce types. Otis Rawl’s enthusiasm, to me, is the same as hoping the hall monitor calls in sick. Jobs yes, but not at any cost.

  3. SGMret

    That is the most ridiculous statement of position that I’ve read in… sheesh… I don’t know how long.

    If Sanford goes now it “will lend itself positively…,” and if he doesn’t resign “it’s got to be a step forward…”! What?!

    Gee, Mr. Rawl, be careful sitting on that fence like that. Wiggle the wrong way and you could really hurt yourself.

    Hokey smokes! No wonder we’re in such a mess.

  4. Brad Warthen

    Yes, SGM, that was confusing. It may have just been a badly-written news story, though. What I got out of it was that he was saying, whenever the gov leaves — now, or after the 2010 election — it’s something to look forward to.

    If that’s NOT what he meant, then I’ll just do an Emily Litella and say… never mind…

  5. Lee Muller

    Gotta love that “editorial license”.

    A journalist would just report all the babblings of Otis Rawl for the readers to sort out for themselves.

    The editor imagines what Otis Rawl “really meant”, and tells the readers they should hate Sanford because this Important People do. Really. He knows. He reads their minds.

  6. Brad Warthen

    Well, I ask the rest of you — how did you read what he said?

    By the way, we at The State supported the governor’s position on these Bass Pro Shops, not Otis’s. My point in posting this was just to note how less shy Otis now is about criticizing the governor. As part of a trend, that’s interesting…

  7. Lee Muller

    Mr. Rawl talks out of both sides of his mouth about Bass Pro Shops.
    “Well, this…. but, on the other hand…”.

    This state needs manufacturing jobs where workers will make more money by adding value and creating wealth.

    Bass Pro Shops is not going to add to the economy any more than Wal-Mart or Best Buy, because people are not going to suddenly buy more things. They are just going to buy them from the big box store instead of the local stores. Maybe they will buy it in state instead of ordering it shipped to them – that is the only net gain.

  8. SGMret

    Well, I wasn’t bustin’ your chops, Brad. If you parse his words ever so carefully, and then maybe diagram his sentences out like some grade school English teacher, I think you probably interpreted his meaning correctly.

    My point was that any one who presumes to be a public figure and leader (to include the PRESIDENT of the State Chamber of Commerce) should be able make a clear point. I suspect, however, that Mr. Otis really wants to have his cake and eat it too, and that’s why his position statement is so absurd.

    He’s a typical politician. Except in his case, he’s just an armature. A “real” politician can carry-off that speaking-out-of-both-sides-of-your-mouth with much more polish.

  9. doug_ross

    Could someone remind me of all the jobs created by governors prior to Mark Sanford?

    Which industry di Dick Riley create? How about Campbell? Beasley? Hodges?

    Maybe I’m missing them. All I see is an increase in government jobs and spending formulated by the Legislature and local governments with taxing authority.

    The easiest way to create jobs is to remove the tax burdens from businesses and employees. That requires cutting government spending.

  10. Lee Muller

    You’re so right, Doug.

    There are very few real jobs that government can create, and most of its jobs come at the cost of one or more private jobs.

    With government employees making more money and much higher benefits than private sector taxpayers, every government job costs at least 2 private sector jobs.

    Jobs the politicians brag about “creating” are just instances where they didn’t interfere with business. They can’t create a job at Bass Pro Shop or BMW. All they can do is hopefully get out of the way.

    If they would get out of the way of small in-state entrepreneurs, there would be no recession.

  11. doug_ross

    Next time someone tries to dupe the public regarding the supposed apocalypse that was going to result from Mark Sanford suggesting that a small portion of the stimulus funds be spent on debt retirement, take a look at this typical example of how our legislature spends other people’s money:


    Three huge “Innvovation Centers” conveniently located where they will be most beneficial to the career politicians who steal our money.

    A 78,000 square foot building in Columbia.. another at Clemson… and another in Charleston. It’s nice to know that we are so flush with cash in this state that we can spend it on buildings. What ever happened to all those teachers, firemen, and prison guards who were going to be laid off because of Mark Sanford’s radical “let’s pay out debts” policy?

  12. Lee Muller

    Charleston, Columbia and Clemson all have Research Parks built in 1987 which have less than 10% occupancy by research and development. No problem, USC is plowing ahead with Innovista, which has zero occupancy by high tech firms.

    As for debt, the state has less than 60& funding for its promised retirement benefits. The obvious solution is to reduce these gold-plated pensions by 40% and work towards phasing them out. But you can bet the legislators, who are also counting on this money stream, will look to raise taxes, after another round of threatening to lay off teachers, police, and fire fighters.

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