BAMBERG COUNTY, S.C. (WIS) - The Southern Carolina Regional Development Alliance works on bringing in new industries to counties like Allendale, Barnwell, Bamberg, Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton, and Jasper Counties.
Kay Maxwell is the Vice President of Marketing. She said, “We have a smaller workforce, yet we have a high unemployment rate but sometimes it can be very difficult to explain to companies how they can find an advantage in a rural area.”
She said in the past companies have passed upon rural areas. But things might be changing soon. When Governor Henry McMaster signed the Professional Sports Team Investment Act also known as the ‘Panthers Bill’, the new law increased the job tax credit amounts in Tier III and Tier IV counties. Most of these counties are in rural areas.
“Those tax incentives can play a big role in attracting a company,” Maxwell said.
The job tax credit increased from $8,000 to $25,000 per job created.
Bamberg County Council Chairman Trent Kinard said this will be a big boost. “I think in the future you will see industries moving to rural South Carolina because of these incentives.”
One company that has set up shop in Bamberg in recent years is Black Water Barrels. They say the incentives are nice, but the workforce is just as important. President Greg Pierce said, “If you can’t find people to work you won’t be successful and that’s the bottom line.”
The company has employed dozens of people from the surrounding areas.
Maxwell believes that tripling of the credit amount will help make these counties more competitive with the likes of Richland, Charleston and Greenville Counties. “We think our region, even though it is rural, is perfectly positioned to capitalize from that growth. We see a lot of good things happening in South Carolina.”