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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.


More shoes showing upunder the Christmas tree

NEW YORK | Shoes are coming out of the closet and landing under the Christmas tree. They’re a top seller this holiday season — a big feat considering most years they don’t even make gift lists.

“It’s about practicality and splurging at the same time,” said Marshal Cohen, chief research analyst at NPD Inc., a market research firm. “There’s a sense of, ‘I know what you need but you haven’t gotten it for yourself.”’

As a result, footwear was the fifth-most-popular gift on shoppers’ lists on the day after Thanksgiving known as Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, according to NPD. A year ago, shoes didn’t even make it into the top 10 gifts for the season.

Overall, sales of cross training shoes rose 16 percent to $197.8 million.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.