County takes the lead on what it hopes will become a national effort
The Lancaster County Council has unanimously approved a resolution introduced by the Lancaster County Department of Economic Development that the County hopes will begin to address the supply chain vulnerability of the nation’s life-saving medical products industry due to offshoring.
The resolution provides the most aggressive business incentives ever offered by Lancaster County. The incentives are available to life-saving medical product manufacturers that commit to producing their products in Lancaster County. Life-saving medical products include pharmaceuticals, vaccines, medical devices and medical equipment. Eligible products must be ones the company currently sells in the United States or has received federal approval to sell here but are not currently being manufactured in the U.S. If a company is owned or controlled by a foreign government, they are not eligible. The resolution provides the following incentives for qualified projects:
- 100% abatement of all property taxes for 10 years.
- Donated land at county owned business parks for the new facility.
- Fast track permitting for construction of the production facility.
Companies are still eligible to receive additional incentives from Lancaster County such as Fee-In-Lieu-of-Tax (FILOT) agreements, which provide reduced taxes beyond the ten years abatement authorized by the resolution.
The resolution was the product of a concept proposed by Jamie Gilbert, Lancaster County Department of Economic Development’s Executive Director to County Council Chairman Steve Harper, after watching world events unfold over the last several weeks. Gilbert presented the initiative to other county officials and it received overwhelming enthusiasm. Gilbert says COVID-19 drew his attention to just how vulnerable life-saving medical products are to pandemics, natural disasters, war, civil unrest, trade restrictions and political agendas in other nations.
“Since 2017 America’s economic strategy has prioritized bringing manufacturing operations back to the U.S. and that effort by and large has been quite successful. One manufacturing area, however, that is still in need of reshoring is life-saving medical products. Both COVID-19 and Hurricane Maria in 2017 caused severe shortages of some of most important life-saving medical products including surgical masks, ventilators and IV bags. The fact that these products are manufactured in locations outside the United States that experienced catastrophic events was the primary reason for the supply chain disruption. The limited number, and in some cases total absence, of domestic life-saving medical products manufacturers in the U.S. makes it nearly impossible to meet increased demands in the event of a national emergency. We are frantically working with local manufacturers to assist them in shifting their operations to make products in demand. Additionally, many of our life-saving drugs are produced outside the U.S. and that presents a scenario where they can be withheld for political or trade reasons. Production of life-saving medical products that Americans depend on must be in the United States. I cannot thank enough the Lancaster County Council for their overwhelming support and embracing of this initiative. To my knowledge, we are the first county in America to approve incentives to take decisive action on this national issue and that speaks volumes about our community”, said Gilbert.
The resolution states that an unexpected interruption, shortage and/or lack of availability of products that detect, treat and control life-threatening illnesses such as cancer, respiratory diseases, and heart disease can have adverse and dire impacts for those being treated, and is a critical national health and security issue. Lancaster County Council Chairman Steve Harper said, “Lancaster County believes we have a civic and patriotic duty to do what we can to address the life-saving medical products supply issue. It is the right thing to do. We hope that the adoption of the resolution will lead to other communities following suit. Like World War II, where America harnessed the resources of the private and pubic sectors and took an all hands-on deck approach to winning the war, our action may lead to others doing the same. It going to take a national effort. The production of life-saving medical products that Americans depend on needs to be done here and Lancaster County wants to get that ball rolling.”
The resolution provides a limited window of time in which the incentives are available. The incentives are for qualified projects that make a commitment decision to locate in Lancaster County on or before December 31, 2021. The timeframe is based on the urgent need to get the domestic production of life-saving medical products started.
In voicing his support of the resolution, Councilman Brian Carnes summed up the sentiment of Lancaster County, “This resolution starts the conversation that we as a nation need to have. We have gotten ourselves backed into a corner with the current pandemic we are facing. We are going to come out of this weaker or stronger but if we start making the moves now to bring and reshore some of these industries that effect and impact the national security and safety of our nation, we will have done a good thing.”
About Lancaster County, South Carolina
Lancaster County is located just south of Charlotte, North Carolina and is one of the fastest growing counties in the Carolinas for both businesses and residents. With a population of just over 95,000, the county population has increased by 24.4% since 2010 and is the 2nd fastest growing in SC, 4th fastest in the Carolinas and 32nd fastest in the U.S. The County is home to the corporate headquarters for CompuCom, Continental Tire the Americas, Nutramax Laboratories and Red Ventures. Life science operations in Lancaster County employ over 1,000 associates and include Cardinal Health and Nutramax Laboratories. Since 2016, the Lancaster County Department of Economic Development has facilitated 33 new and expanding business projects representing over 5,600 new jobs and $563 million in new investment. In February 24/7 Wall Street named Lancaster County the fastest growing county economy in South Carolina from 2013-2018.
About South Carolina I-77 Alliance
Established by the counties’ economic development offices, the South Carolina I-77 Alliance is a nonprofit economic development organization that seeks to position and market Chester, Fairfield, Lancaster, Richland and York Counties as a world-class business location to attract investment, high quality jobs, entrepreneurs, and professional talent along the I-77 corridor of South Carolina. For more information on the Alliance, contact Rich Fletcher at (803) 789-5010 or [email protected].