Haley Talks Jobs and Government's Role in Creating Them

Despite loss of plant in Oconee County Governor says jobs outlook is on the right track.

Last week, Covidien, a medical device manufacturing company based in Mansfield, MA, announced that it was closing its plant in Oconee County and opening one in Costa Rica. Nearly 600 South Carolinians will lose their jobs to workers from another country who will be paid less than three dollars an hour.

According to Covidien’s most recent public filing, the company is growing and is profitable, so the decision to close the Oconee plant was not made by a company in financial crisis.

The Covidien closing is a the most recent and most local example of a discussion that has been taking place across the country about how to jump-start a sluggish economy. What should be done to attract and keep low-to-medium skill manufacturing jobs that pay well, like the ones at Covidien? And what should be done, if anything, to companies who ship such jobs overseas?

Gov. Nikki Haley addressed these questions during a conversation with Patch Wednesday at the Statehouse after a ceremony with the Daughters of the American Revolution in recognition of Constitution Week.

“Those 600 job losses hurt,” Haley said of the Covidien closing. “But we are continuing to bring jobs in and I’m going to continue talking about lower taxes and lower regulations and that we don’t want unions here.”

Haley noted that this week alone there have been announcements resulting in 185 new jobs and that 27,000 jobs have been added to the Palmetto State's economy since she was sworn in.

But when jobs do leave, Haley said she is not in favor of punishing the company that does so. “You have to let the market work,” she said. “(In the case of Covidien) we reached out to them to see if there was anything we could do.”

Haley’s strategy in attracting business is two-pronged—create a good climate for businesses by making it easier to be profitable and by having a qualified workforce.

“That goes back to creating a business climate with low taxes and low regulations. That’s the reason I go to the legislature and say the reason business taxes matter is because they do matter,” Haley said. “The companies that go overseas are paying less taxes than they would here.”

In the presidential campaign between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, strengthening the middle class has been a primary topic. Similarly, Haley said she devotes her attention to attracting jobs that might not necessarily be high-skilled, but can draw a salary that puts the worker in the middle class.

“We are focused on training the part of the workforce that doesn’t need a four-year degree,” Haley said. “The jobs that are coming in are the technical jobs that don’t require a lot of training but are high-paying. That’s what we’re focused on.”


Later on Wednesday, Haley appeared in Fayetteville, NC to campaign with GOP gubernatorial candidate Pat McRory. Haley said she does plan on backing South Carolina House and Senate candidates, but she has not decided which ones as of yet. In the primary season, she supported Tom Rice for the new congressional seat in District 7 and Lee Bright in State Senate seat 12, both of whom won. 

Jim Lee September 20, 2012 at 01:53 PM
The question comes down to what is government's role in the economy. If the demand of the economy is for certain goods and services, somewhere in the global private sector someone will meet that demand because there's an opportunity to earn a profit and thus create jobs in order to do so. The corresponding wages of those jobs are dependent on the supply of workers with the right skills that are available for the job. SC government can not and should not worry about creating jobs. Rather, it must focus on those policies (most importantly, tax and regulatory policy) it enacts that create disincentives to the private sector that cause companies to want to create jobs somewhere other than in SC.
stanley seigler September 20, 2012 at 02:21 PM
re: '...a recipe for disaster.' in geneal, GOP no-reg, free market, economic/social, policies are 'a recipt for disaster.' proof: 1929, 2008, and 1:99 divide...what is it GOPs dont get... BTW i like haley...hate most of her programs/policies...she should renew her sikh roots..ie/eg, sikhs say: "Realization of Truth is higher than all else. Higher still is truthful living...Sikh teachings stress the concept of sharing, giving charitable donations, and working for the good of the community and others. Sikhs believe that no matter what race, sex, or religion one is, all are equal in God's eyes...Men and women are equal and share the same rights..." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sikhism
Mike Buddin September 20, 2012 at 02:54 PM
I remember when they were blaming other Governors for cutting deals by allowing tax cuts to get companies in here. Here she is now flipping the lid as they say to get companies to do business here. I know in Alabama that's how they got all the different Car Companies to locate there instead of here in SC by cuttiing tax deals and giving them certain perks to locate there. We could use a lot of these type plants in areas where the areas don't have any businesses to bring in tax Revenues.
stanley seigler September 20, 2012 at 04:10 PM
re: '...it must focus on those policies (most importantly, tax and regulatory policy)...' as important, perhaps more, are policies that effect education, social services, safety nets for the least...people have moved to CA for programs they have for children with disabilities...and; companies also consider communities that provide the good life (eg, educational opportunities) for their workforce...communities that care about the general welfare. and FDR say: 'The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much [the 1%] it is whether we provide enough for those who have little [the 99%]. '
John H September 21, 2012 at 12:21 PM
Dear Mr. Hayes, It Looks like by your own admission that education in South Carolina is actually improving. On August 8th you posted that SC education ranks 49th among the states, now have we have improved, in your estimation, to only in the bottom five? Also you posted congratulations to Dorchester District 2 schools on improving their exit exam scores. Therefore, in your litany of divisive things that the Governor advocates, you might want to leave our teachers and students out of it. You can campaign on the fact that we can’t do anything about the past and where we rank among other states, but we can focus on the improvement that is being achieved and push for continuation of those efforts..


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