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The Associated Press reported yesterday that Walmart plans to invest $400 million in South Carolina over the next five years - to be spent both on at least a dozen new stores and the remodeling, relocation and/or expansion of existing units - that should result in the creation of as many as 4,000 new jobs there.

There is a political subtext to the announcement. As the AP notes, it came “one week after another retail giant abandoned plans to build a distribution center in Lexington County, near Columbia. Last week, withdrew its plans for 1,250 full-time jobs and $100 million in investment after state lawmakers rejected efforts to give the Seattle-based company a break from collecting sales taxes.

“The company had sought a five-year exemption from collecting sales taxes from South Carolina shoppers under a deal brokered with the Commerce Department under former Gov. Mark Sanford.”

Current Gov. Nikki Haley, who like Sanford is a Republican, “opposed the break, as did tea party activists and a coalition of retailers that Wal-Mart helped organize, and which bought TV ads railing against it. They argued a tax break was unfair to local retailers that must collect state sales taxes.”

Haley said that the Walmart announcement had nothing to do with Amazon, and had been in the works “for months.”
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