Google Goes To South Carolina

    April 6, 2007

We’ve brought you several stories about Google’s plan to build server farms in North Carolina; the company is now preparing to build more of the same in that state’s southern neighbor.  But South Carolina must have something up its sleeve, as it seems to have gotten a better deal.

An article in the Charlotte Observer relayed the details.  “S.C. law requires that local incentives follow a so-called fee-in-lieu-of-taxes formula, based on the value of the facility and number of jobs created. The county estimates that Google’s facility will generate an annual fee of $2 million.  In North Carolina, local governments are left to negotiate their own tax break deals.”

In most other respects, the two deals seem equal: $600 million investments creating 200 jobs apiece.  But this new development won’t make things any easier for some N.C. officials, who have been criticized over the tax breaks they gave the search engine giant.

Still, as reported by The Carolina Journal’s Paul Chesser, Google does not believe this is “an apples-to-apples comparison.”

“Everyone knew from the beginning that there were multiple projects and multiple potential sites for these projects,” said Barry Schnitt, a Google spokesman.  Then, in reference to the N.C. and S.C. facilities, he continued, “Is it possible that the Lenoir site could have ended up at Mount Holly? Yes, but then the Mount Holly site would have ended up somewhere else.”

In any event, what-ifs now seem a bit irrelevant; the inhabitants of South Carolina are probably polishing their resumes as we speak.