Lexington County leaders questioned the timing of an announcement Wednesday by Wal-Mart and S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley which promised dozens of new stores and 4,000 jobs over the next five years, with one politician calling it a shell game.
Several said the announcement was a political favor for Haley, who opposed giving a sales tax break to Amazon.com for a planned distribution center in Cayce that would have brought 1,249 jobs to the area. Wal-Mart actively campaigned against the Amazon incentive, saying it gave a competitor an unfair advantage.
The S.C. House a week ago shot down the tax break, and Amazon pulled out of the deal.
Some Lexington County leaders were skeptical of the lack of specifics in Wal-Marts announcement.
It sure looks like payback to me, said Lexington County Councilman Bill Banning, head of the economic development committee, who was at the news conference where the announcement was made.