A new report is shining fresh light on the dubious financial assumptions associated with the city of Columbia, South Carolina’s proposed convention center expansion – a project which is already millions of dollars in the red.

The report (.pdf) – commissioned by former S.C. commerce secretary Joe Taylor and state representative Kirkman Finlay – was prepared and presented by researcher Chris Shefelton. According to its findings, even if the rosiest economic forecasts were to materialize for the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center (CMCC), the expanded facility would continue posting annual operating deficits ranging from $300,000 to $900,000 over the next two decades.

And again, that is under the absolute best-case scenario … one which presumes pie-in-the-sky economic projections bordering on the preposterous.

More realistic projections portend far deeper deficits … which would put taxpayers in an even deeper hole.

From 2013-2018, the CMCC posted operating deficits totaling $7.4 million (or $1.48 million annually). That begs the question: Why were South Carolina taxpayers were compelled to invest $9 million into this project (one of multiple politically driven expenditures tucked away in the Palmetto State’s record-setting $32.1 billion budget for fiscal year 2021-2022)?

Was that a responsible use of taxpayer funds?

As I have previously noted, “Republican” lawmakers blew more than $2 billion in new money this year without providing so much as…

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