Carolina Panthers one step closer to calling SC home

State - Regional

COLUMBIA, SC – There’s been a lot of buzz in the state since the announcement that the Carolina Panthers could be coming to South Carolina. Now lawmakers are one step closer to passing legislation necessary for the team to make the Palmetto State home. 

The state House of Representatives passed the bill Wednesday morning. Many representatives are excited at what the proposal could bring. 

Representative Jason Elliott voted “yes” to the bill. “Investing this in the Carolina Panthers today will reap benefits, rewards and dividends through jobs and other economic development all over South Carolina. So, the Panthers win and South Carolina wins.”

But not all lawmakers think the deal is a touchdown. The bill was passed just two weeks after it was filed, and 25 representatives voted “no,” including Representative Mike Burns from Greenville County. 

“I’m for them being located here, but everything is moving a little too quickly and we don’t have all the financial reports of what it’s going to do.”

The BILL in question defines what a professional sports team is and what incentives come with that investment. Other lawmakers are concerned about how big of a break the team would get. 

“The incentive package that we’re given is $7 million for the next 15 years. I looked on their website and they employ 145 people right now. My guess is they’ll move those people to the new location in York County and you won’t see any new jobs or people relocating,” added Representative David Hiott, who also voted against the bill. 

There’s also debate over how the state has worked with large companies and sports teams in the past. 

Burns continued, “BMW is here. We created 8,000 jobs so far over there. Volvo is creating 4,000 jobs and investing $1.1 billion and all the numbers I can get is 150 jobs and $150 million over 4 years.”

Hiott was concerned about the special treatment the Panthers seem to be getting. 

“We have a professional baseball team in Greenville. They weren’t given any incentives and they came anyway. It’s not the general assembly’s money it’s the taxpayers money of South Carolina that we are giving away to some organization that was just recently purchased for $3 billion and paid cash for it.”

The bill will now head through the senate process before it can head to Gov. Henry McMaster’s desk for signing. 

Out of the 25 representatives who voted “no,” 12 are from the Upstate.

It’s still unclear what this move would mean for the practices already held at Wofford College.

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