BMW at 20: Plant exceeds hopes, tax debate ongoing

Associated Press

GREER, S.C. (AP) - Two decades ago, then-South Carolina Gov. Carroll Campbell stood at the Greenville-Spartanburg airport and announced the BMW plant being built just up the road would be a benchmark in the state's history.

By most measures, the German automaker's plant near Greer has exceeded expectations.

On that day in June 1992, BMW officials said they expected the plant to have 2,000 workers and make 6,500 luxury vehicles a month. In November, the factory's 7,000 employees made more than 25,000 of BMW's crossover vehicles.

But some say the successful courtship of BMW has had an unfortunate domino effect. They say the often-cash-strapped state has provided millions more in taxpayer money to hundreds of other companies - most of it without much public oversight - making it nearly impossible to judge the quality of these public investments.

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