Panthers’ tax incentive will not “cost” state $115 Million

Panthers’ tax incentive will not “cost” state $115 Million
May 11 17:08 2019 Print This Article

There has been a lot of misinformation about the 15-year, $115 million tax incentive plan for the Carolina Panthers to move their headquarters from Charlotte to Rock Hill. The incentive is similar to the ones offered to Boeing and Volvo, just on a smaller scale. The Panthers will collect the 7% state income tax from their 150 employees and invest the money in their proposed $250 million complex on a 200-acre property. It is referred to as the “job creation tax credit.”

The South Carolina Department of Commerce estimates that the Panthers’ move would generate $3.8 billion in economic activity over 15 years and lead to the creation of 5715 new jobs. While those figures seem overly optimistic, the jobs that are created would not be coming to South Carolina otherwise. The Panthers’ site will include an Atrium Health sports medicine and nutrition facility with 200 employees and a 150-room hotel. Both facilities will immediately generate state tax revenue.

During the debate on the incentive package, legislators agreed to task the Legislative Audit Council with reviewing all corporate tax incentives offered over the past 10 years and determining how many jobs and how much economic activity they actually yielded. Such transparency is long overdue.

The only direct cost to the state in the Panthers’ deal was a $40 million interchange on I-77 which leads directly to the football complex. The Department of Commerce has the authority to authorize such expenditures without approval of the legislature, which is a policy legislators should re-examine. One of the downsides to the “job creation tax credit” incentive is that it is an impediment to any effort to reduce or eliminate South Carolina’s highest-in-the-South 7% personal income tax rate.