Representative Joe Wilson

Representing the 2nd District of South Carolina

COLUMN: South Carolina Moving Forward

Jan 31, 2011
Op-Ed in the Aiken Standard
At a time when more than 15 million Americans are without jobs, there is no doubt that South Carolina's families continue to hurt. With the state's unemployment rate sitting at 10.7 percent, Congressional legislation needs to be geared toward jump-starting the economy. I know our state has a remarkable workforce that can attract job-creating industries to our communities. Congress needs to do its part by enacting legislation beneficial to small businesses and individuals. Doing so will allow America to experience an economic jolt similar to the one here in the Second Congressional District.

We have recently experienced a flurry of activity with new economic development in the District. AQT Solar, a California-based alternative energy company, announced it will be investing over $300 million in a solar panel manufacturing facility in Blythewood. AQT intends to employ 1,000 people by the year 2014. Its presence shows other alternative energy companies the Palmetto State is a place they too can call home.
Also in the Midlands, internet retailer recently announced plans to locate a new distribution center in Cayce. The company plans to build a new $100 million facility in the Lexington County Industrial Park while adding 1,249 new jobs.

DHL Global will add an additional 149 employees to its current global shipping operation in West Columbia.

The job creation is spread throughout the District. In Aiken County, MTU Detroit Diesel will be making a $45 million investment in Graniteville's Sage Mill Industrial Park to build a new facility to manufacture and assemble off-road engines. This will create up to 250 jobs in the next four years. Also, the TTX Company relocated a facility from Florida to Aiken County recently.

In the dynamic community of Barnwell, the establishment of South Carolina Tissue, LLC, will provide more than 200 new jobs.

Last month, the Department of the Navy announced its decision to locate F-35 Joint Strike Fighter squadrons out of the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort installation. This will result in the creation of 1,532 military jobs with an additional 200 jobs being created in the private sector. The Department of the Navy had several options to choose from and I am thrilled military leaders chose the option that made the most logistical sense and greatly benefits the Lowcountry. This proves yet again our District has much to offer for both the military and private sectors.

The combination of low taxes, worker training, right-to-work protections and less regulatory red tape is a sound recipe to attract a wide variety of businesses to the District. Credit should be given to municipal, county, and state officials working with chambers of commerce, regional, economic, and development authorities such as the Southern Carolina Alliance, the Central Carolina Alliance, and the Aiken Chamber of Commerce.

The federal government should not be growing when so many Americans are out of work. As Ronald Reagan once stated, "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. So, government's programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth." Measures such as cutting budgets are an important first step to reducing the ballooning deficit. The House of Representatives passed H. Res. 22 which slashes the budget of Congressional offices by five percent. It will immediately save taxpayers $35 million. The office of the Second Congressional District made additional cuts to those enacted by H. Res. 22. The office consolidated staff positions and committed to an additional 5 percent budget cut.

Gone are the days of failed Stimulus Plans that only led to higher unemployment rates, the loss of 1.8 million jobs in the private sector, and increases in the federal deficit to over $14 trillion.

I am very excited for this Congress. Last November, voters in South Carolina sent a message at the polls. That message was loud and clear: limit spending and create jobs. The job killing agenda pushed by liberals the past four years must be stopped. In these tough economic times, sound policy and action are the solution. Political rhetoric and speech are not. I look forward to working with Speaker John Boehner and the conservative majority in keeping our Pledge to America.

Congressman Joe Wilson represents the 2nd Congressional District of South Carolina.