COLUMBIA, SC (WBTV) - The South Carolina Senate voted 27-15 Thursday to approve an incentives bill to bring the Carolina Panthers’ headquarters and practice facilities across the border from North Carolina.
The bill, which will give $115 million in tax breaks for a Panthers practice complex in Rock Hill, has been in talks for some time. After the bill passed through the SC House in March, Representative Gary Simrill (R-District 46) clarified that SC is not giving money to the Panthers, instead they are being offered a discount, per say, on state taxes.
The Panthers want to buy up to 200 acres of property in Rock Hill to build a multi-use facility that would include an orthopedic sports medicine facility employing about 200 people and a hotel with at least 150 rooms and space for conferences, according to The Charlotte Observer. It also could attract a corporate headquarters and residential projects, a team official told the State newspaper in April.
The team wants to start construction later this year and move into the complex in the first quarter of 2022, the Observer reports.
Senators from all over South Carolina have asked why they should support tax breaks that benefit only the north-central region of the state. Others wondered aloud why they should offer tax breaks to a team whose owner is worth more than $11 billion, according to the State.
“It’s going to cost us a lot of money to go down to South Carolina,” said Tepper before the vote. “We’re going to have to put out real money to go down there. So it’s not like we get that money from South Carolina, and that’s it. There’s a lot of money in a facility that we have to invest."
Tepper added, “They’ll have to make a decision whether they want it or not ... I’ll stay in Charlotte. I could stay home.”
SC Governor Henry McMaster said Thursday’s vote sends a powerful message.
“This vote sends a resounding message to the world that South Carolina is committed to creating the most competitive business environment in the world so that South Carolinians can benefit from jobs created by great organizations like the Panthers.”