“We’re not living in 1992 anymore …”
Most South Carolinians are unaware of the $1.3 billion incentive package aimed at inducing VW to manufacture Scout electric vehicles in the Palmetto State. With promises of up to 4,000 jobs, we at the Mom and Pop Alliance of South Carolina saw this deal sail through the S.C. House by a huge majority with little to no time for debate – or for legislators to hear from their constituents. Now it’s on to the S.C. Senate which we feel sure will be pressured to rubber stamp the deal asap.
Clearly, this is a massive amount of the people’s money, and South Carolina has a long history of redistributing money to big business, often with unfulfilled promises (recall the Carolina Panthers’ boondoggle or the Element Electronics deal). We at the Alliance would prefer to see state income tax breaks for South Carolina’s hard-working small businesses (similar to what Ohio offers), but we believe a much more critical point is the far-reaching and permanent impacts this deal could have on our state culturally and politically.
Proponents point to BMW’s success as a reason to support this deal, but much has changed since we incentivized BMW to come to our state – not to mention that BMW produces a product that people want, while EVs continue to struggle with component sourcing and flat-to-decreasing sales demand.
It’s important to realize we’re not living in a 1992 America anymore, which is the year BMW broke ground in South Carolina. We live in an era of wokeism, Build Back Better green agendas, and ESGs – so we believe allowing just a little time for discussion and vetting seems reasonable, especially with a company which has a history of fraud.
The Mom and Pop Alliance does not weigh in on social issues, but we do think legislators and constituents should at least be aware that Volkswagen sponsored a drag queen show at an event to highlight women at VW last August in Chattanooga. At the time, many questioned the company’s judgment in hosting this event and found it demeaning and tone deaf to feature drag queens at a luncheon to celebrate women.
Also, given the current state of global affairs in 2023 the Mom and Pop Alliance has concerns that VW continues to boast about its strong ties to China and its claim to “remain firmly committed” to China.
Then there’s the very concerning issue of ESGs – which have roots in the UN and other globalist institutions with the goal of converting shareholder capitalism to “stakeholder capitalism.” They are the source of the DEI and woke-ism we see in corporate America today. In America, ESG is encouraged and rewarded – but not mandated by law as it now is for European companies. As of December 2022 the European Union adopted new ESG reporting requirements that will also apply to their American vendors. Granted, BMW is also under these new European mandatory ESGs, but now that we are aware of the danger of ESGs should we really bring in more ESG mandates to South Carolina?
With good intentions, there is talk of Senate amendments being offered to try and disallow incentive dollars going to further ESGs – but honestly, we see no way how one could track those dollars or enforce it considering ESG compliance is now the law for European companies. Obviously, even if one could do this the benefits would be temporary at best. Also, some legislators told us that ESG is just the latest “fad issue,” and nothing to worry about; these things come and go. We at the Alliance could not disagree more!
“The new EU rules will require ESG reporting on a level never seen before, and will capture a whole host of companies that previously were not subject to non-financial reporting requirements, including public and private non-EU companies.” (Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance)
“Even if your business is not covered by the new reporting requirements, we anticipate that you will feel the impact of these requirements if your business is part of the value chain of an entity that is required to report.” (Harvard Law Forum on Corporate Governance)
Ironically, many of the state representatives who voted YES for this deal have also sponsored anti-ESG legislation. They haven’t had enough time to realize their own contradiction. The recent carnage from failed banks and the Build Back Better green agenda tells us it is definitely not 1992, so perhaps it would be wise to deliberate and have a thoughtful discussion about the potential ramifications (good and bad) for South Carolina if this deal is passed.
In the past, a mistaken incentive package meant a loss of taxpayer dollars, but the Mom and Pop Alliance believes the consequences of making a mistake could now be much, much greater. The Mom and Pop Alliance would like to see our Governor and state elected officials turn their attention to the Palmetto State’s hard-working in-state small businesses rather than roll out the “woke-come” mat for foreign companies. At the very least, our legislators need time to digest this very big deal with permanent ramifications for the Palmetto State.
Diane Hardy is a former nurse anesthetist turned entrepreneur who opened her business over six years ago and now has 38 employees. She is also the Executive Director of the Mom and Pop Alliance of SC, which she founded during Covid upon discovering SC’s almost 400,000 small businesses had little representation in our State House. The Alliance provides education, communication, and advocacy for SC’s family-owned businesses. Her passion for SC’s small business is strong, and as such she donates her time to the organization, accepting no salary or government funding. Her love for our state isn’t new. Before launching the Mom and Pop Alliance she was the founder and host of The Palmetto Panel (2014-2019), an annual statewide conference highlighting issues impacting South Carolina. She has a bachelor’s in nursing and psychology from Michigan State as well as a master’s from MUSC.
Courtesy of FitsNews.com. See original story at https://www.fitsnews.com/2023/03/14/guest-column-south-carolina-rolling-out-woke-come-mat/