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Charlotte Partnership CEO says S.C. has unfair recruiting edge

By David Mildenberg - Jun 19, 2014 - 4:23:00 pm

Charlotte-area companies considering relocating within the region shouldn’t get incentives tied to their existing jobs, Charlotte Regional Partnership CEO Ronnie Bryant says.

Bryant wants lawmakers in Raleigh and Columbia, S.C., to change the rules to create a more even playing field, which he says is now tipped in South Carolina’s favor.

Earlier this week, South Carolina lured Boston-based LPL Investment Holdings Inc. and Chesterbrook, Pa.-based Amerisource Bergen Corp.’s Lash Group, which announced plans to move a combined 2,200 jobs from Charlotte to Fort Mill, S.C. Both companies now have offices in Charlotte within 15 miles of their new locations.

South Carolina was able to count existing employees at LPL and Lash as “new” jobs as part of their incentives offering, with additional benefits provided if the companies add more positions as expected. North Carolina doesn’t permit such incentives to retain current employment levels, Bryant says. LPL plans to eventually employ 3,000 people at the Fort Mill site, CEO Mark Casady told reporters June 16.

Bryant’s organization includes representatives from 12 counties in North Carolina and four in South Carolina, and its purpose is to promote the region without favoritism. The state of North Carolina has paid dues since the group was launched in 1991, though funding is ending on June 30, Bryant says. South Carolina has never contributed to the partnership.

“When you consider incentives, South Carolina is in a much better position because they have more flexibility in their incentives program,” Bryant says. “The state of North Carolina isn’t structured to provide incentives for existing jobs.”

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