Information on the Issues

Update From Upstate Chamber Coalition


Added on: April 22, 2014

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-42114.php



Chamber Endorses Resolution


Added on: April 14, 2014

A GREATER GREER CHAMBER OF COMMERCE RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF THE GREENVILLE COUNTY CAPITAL PROJECT SALES TAX REFERENDUM 

WHEREAS, as the population of South Carolina, Greenville County, and the City of Greer has grown so has the volume of vehicle miles driven on roads in Greenville County and the City of Greer, leading to increased traffic, deteriorating road surfaces and over-saturated highway capacities; and

WHEREAS, the accessibility and quality of an area’s transportation infrastructure has a direct impact on the growth of existing businesses and the recruitment of new jobs and private investment; and

WHEREAS, the costs of maintaining and building roads have exceeded the annual federal and state appropriations over a number of years and citizens have expressed a desire to explore options to provide additional funding for the improvement of road infrastructure serving Greenville County and the City of Greer; and

 WHEREAS, Greenville County Council, on November 5, 2013, unanimously passed Resolution No. 1486, creating the Greenville Citizens Roads Advisory Commission to consider proposals and receive citizen and community input regarding potential road improvement and related projects within the incorporated and unincorporated areas of Greenville County; and

 WHEREAS, the Report of the Greenville Citizens Road Advisory Commission provided to Greenville County Council on April 1, 2014 concludes that “the current means for maintenance of our road system is woefully inadequate”, provides a prioritized list of road improvements and related projects throughout Greenville County, including the City of Greer, and recommends Greenville County Council “should consider pursuing some means of a dedicated funding source at an appropriate level to adequately insure needed road improvements are completed expeditiously”; and

 WHEREAS, the South Carolina General Assembly enacted the Capital Project Sales Tax Act, authorizing the county governing body to call for a referendum of the registered voters of the county on the question of imposing a one percent (1%) sales and use tax to fund capital projects throughout the county; and

 WHEREAS, the Capital Project Sales Tax Act can be used to fund capital projects, including the improvement of the road systems, in the county for up to eight (8) years and it is estimated that a one percent (1%) sales and use tax in Greenville County would generate approximately $65 million per year; and

 NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT:

 The Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce supports action by Greenville County Council to call for the registered voters of Greenville County to consider by referendum the question of imposing a one percent (1%) sales and use tax to fund road improvements and other related projects within the incorporated and unincorporated areas of Greenville County.

 PASSED, ADOPTED AND APPROVED, by the Executive Board (an Executive Board roster is enclosed) of the Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce on this 7th day of April 2014.


Click the link below for more information

http://greerchamber.com/pdf/Let_the_People_Decide_-_GSA_Business__FINAL_.pdf



Update from Upstate Chamber Coalition


Added on: April 4, 2014

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-4414.php



Update From Upstate Chamber Coalition


Added on: April 1, 2014

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-32814.php



Update From Upstate Chamber Coalition


Added on: March 21, 2014

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-32114.php



Update From Upstate Chamber Coalition


Added on: March 14, 2014

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-31414.php



Update From Upstate Chamber Coalition


Added on: March 7, 2014

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-3714.php



Update from Upstate Chamber Coalition


Added on: February 21, 2014

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-22114.php



Time Extended to Comply with ACA Employer Mandates


Added on: February 18, 2014

Medium and large employers can expect "transition relief" with regard to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) according to the US Treasury. The final “employer shared responsibility” (a.k.a. “pay or play”) regulation was unveiled February 10, 2014. The rule originally stated that all employers with 50 or more full-time employees must offer "minimum value" and "affordable" health insurance coverage (the "employer mandate") to at least 95 percent of their full-time employees and their dependents beginning January 1, 2014. However, in July 2013, the IRS issued a notice providing that, as "transition relief," the employer mandate would not be enforced for the 2014 calendar year, and therefore employers would not need to satisfy these requirements until January 1, 2015. The mandate affects medium size companies (50-99 employees) and applicable large companies (100 or more employees) at different times (2016 vs. 2015). February’s ruling provided further "transition relief" and delays implementation for medium-sized employers until 2016 and for large employers until 2015. Key points include:

  • A two-year phase in of the 95% coverage rule for full-time employees
  • A delay in compliance requirements for medium-sized employers until 2016
  • Some additional 2014 transition relief extensions, including for non-calendar year plans
  • Full-time job status clarification for certain groups
  • Applicable large employers will have an additional year, until 2016, to pay or play.

 



This Week at the Statehouse


Added on: February 10, 2014

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-2714.php



Representative Tommy Stringer: "Doing What's Necessary"


Added on: January 6, 2014

Click the link below for more information

http://greenvillejournal.com/opinions/in-my-own-words/2795-doing-what-s-necessary.html



GALLUP: U.S. Small Business Owners Have Mixed Expectations for 2014


Added on: January 6, 2014

Click the link below for more information

http://www.gallup.com/poll/166658/small-business-owners-mixed-expectations-2014.aspx?utm_source=alert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=syndication&utm_content=morelink&utm_term=All%20Gallup%20Headlines



The Countdown to Obama Care: Are you ready?


Added on: August 23, 2013

The Affordable Health Care Act (sometimes referred as “Obama Care”) was ratified by Congress and validated by the Supreme Court.  Regardless of your politics, it seems inevitable that the law will be fully implemented in 2014. The Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce wants to make sure you are sufficiently prepared.  It is worth noting that any health care, insurance, legal or accounting issues should be addressed by a professional.  If you are in need of a health care, insurance, legal or accounting professional, please contact us directly, and we will supply you with a list of chamber members. You can also find Chamebr Members under our Business Directory within the website.

The information provided below is not in any way intended to be construed as professional advice on this topic but is only being provided to help supplement members current understanding of the requirements that will be placed on them under the law and to help members determine what kind of professional advice they need to seek based on their own determination of their particular business situation.

Information:

-Employers covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act must provide an “exchange notice” to employees no later than October 1, 2013

Click here (http://www.shrm.org/TemplatesTools/hrqa/Pages/HealthCareExchanges.aspx) to learn about the exchange notice and the exchange notice requirement.

-Any waiting period longer than 90 days will be prohibited. 

Click here (http://www.shrm.org/hrdisciplines/benefits/articles/pages/ppaca-full-time-employees.aspx) for more information. 

-General Health Insurance Information – healthcare.gov

-Tax Benefits and Responsibilities – irs.gov/aca

-Small Business Resources – sba.gov/healthcare

-Legal Guidance – Labor Provisions – dol.gov/ebsa/healthreform

-US Government Business Portal – business.usa.gov/healthcare

-A Health Insurance Subsidy Calculator, Frequently Asked Questions and Latest Updates - http://kff.org/health-reform/

-A “YouTube” Video on Health Care Reform - http://kff.org/health-reform/video/youtoons-obamacare-video/

 



Upstate Business Advocacy Return on Investment for Greer


Added on: July 31, 2013

Click the link below for more information

http://greerchamber.com/pdf/2013_ADVOCACY_ROI_UCC.pdf



SC DOT lists 7 projects for new road money


Added on: July 24, 2013

Click the link below for more information

http://www.thestate.com/2013/07/23/2877091/sc-dot-lists-7-projects-for-new.html



Angel Investment Tax Credits: SC at a Disadvantage


Added on: July 19, 2013

Click the link below for more information

http://www.greenvillebusinessmag.com/View-Article/ArticleID/1357/Angel-Investment-Tax-Credits.aspx



South Carolina Alliance to Fix Our Roads Report


Added on: July 1, 2013

Legislature and Governor respond to Coalition’s Effort to Provide Highway and Infrastructure Funding

The House and Senate Adopted the Conferees reports on Highway and Infrastructure funding, H 3360 ,  and the General Appropriation’s provision’s related to funding last week and the Governor on Monday, June 24, 2013 held a press conference at the S. C. Chamber of Commerce to announce her decision to sign the enabling legislation for a $50 million recurring legislation that would allow up to $500 million in  bonding.  That bill also included  transfer of vehicle sales tax recurring revenue of $41.4 million that will be used for Non-Federal Aid Highway Fund (rural roads which do not qualify for federal aid) to be used exclusively for highway, road, and bridge maintenance.  and up to $50 million dollars in funding for bridges which is included in the General Appropriations bill.

The total funding approved by the S. C. General Assembly and the Governor was a major step forward and total funding including bonding will total approximately $591 million. 

The primary Highway Funding legislation, H 3412, was stalled by efforts to push Ethic’s reform, and the inability to get the legislation set for special order in the Senate.  H 3412 will remain on the Senate Calendar and we expect to see action on that legislation early next year.  Senator Ray Cleary, R., has vowed to continue to pursue passage of this important highway funding legislation. 

We need to express a great deal of appreciation to the members of the House and Senate for agreeing to these funding proposals and the Governor for agreeing to sign the legislation.  There are several members who made a big difference in the development of the legislation and working the proposal through the budget process, specifically Senator Hugh Leatherman, Senator Nikki Setzler, Senator Harvey Peeler, and Senator Larry Grooms.  House Ways and Means Chairman Brian White led the effort in the House and during the House and Senate Conferee debate. We also need to say a special thanks to the members of the Senate Finance Subcommittee, Chairman Senator Ray Cleary,( R).,  Senator’s Paul Campbell,( R), Joel Lourie, (D)., Thomas Alexander, R., Yancy McGill, (D). and Senator Darrell Jackson, (D),  that held hearings and developed the funding proposals that were included in H 3412. 

The South Carolina Alliance to Fix Our Roads is pleased with the progress that has been made this year.  We are especially appreciative of the efforts made by Coalition members including S. C. Trucking Association, S. C. Chamber of Commerce, Palmetto Agr-Business, AGC, S. C. Farm Bureau, S. C. Forestry Association and the S. C. Manufacturing Alliance.  We also need to say a special thanks to the members of the S. C. Alliance to Fix Our Roads who responded to the our request for assistance and to our Board of Directors.  We were also provided tremendous assistance by S. C. Department of Transportation staff.

We should all be pleased with the success that we have had this session.  The awareness of the need for increased Highway and Infrastructure funding  is greater than it has been for many years.  There is greater support from the media, and significant awareness of our growing needs by legislative members, and the Governor.  The effort is moving forward and the legislative pressure and education of the public, is going to be even more important  to continue to obtain the needed funding for our state’s highway system.

 



2013 Legislative Session Overview


Added on: July 1, 2013

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/2013-legislative-review.php



Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce Opposes Tax Increase on Business


Added on: June 18, 2013

Click the link below for more information

http://greerchamber.com/graphics//Letter_to_County_Council_-_Rec_Issue_PDF.pdf



Highlights of Immigration Reform prepared by Senator Graham’s office


Added on: June 12, 2013

Click the link below for more information

http://greerchamber.com/pdf/Highlights_of_Immigration_Reform__Short_Summary__Volume_II.pdf



Update from Upstate Chamber Coalition


Added on: June 10, 2013

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-6713.php



Update from Upstate Chamber Coalition


Added on: June 3, 2013

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-53113.php



Update from Upstate Chamber Coalition


Added on: May 28, 2013

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-52413.php



Update from Upstate Chamber Coalition


Added on: May 20, 2013

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-51713.php



Update from Upstate Chamber Coalition


Added on: May 13, 2013

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-51013.php



Update from Upstate Chamber Coalition


Added on: May 6, 2013

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-5313.php



Update from Upstate Chamber Coalition


Added on: April 26, 2013

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-42613.php



Update from Upstate Chamber Coalition


Added on: April 22, 2013

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-41913.php



Update from Upstate Chamber Coalition


Added on: April 15, 2013

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-41213.php



Competitiveness Update


Added on: April 15, 2013

Click the link below for more information

http://southcarolinasccoc.weblinkconnect.com/CWT/EXTERNAL/WCPAGES/DOCS/CU_4-12-2013.PDF



Update from Upstate Chamber Coalition


Added on: March 23, 2013

Click the link below for more information

https://mail.greerchamber.com/owa/redir.aspx?C=7kyJTXwUFkORjSlP9MC2CWvvXPEp-89IBbnWVLbbDj1APaiks9thQXFEU6la69IT6KuBZ4DJaWE.&URL=http%3a%2f%2fwww.upstatechamber.org%2fweekly-update-32213.php



Competitiveness Update


Added on: March 23, 2013

Click the link below for more information

http://southcarolinasccoc.weblinkconnect.com/CWT/EXTERNAL/WCPAGES/DOCS/CU_3-22-2013.PDF



Update from Upstate Chamber Coalition


Added on: March 18, 2013

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update.php



Update from Upstate Chamber Coalition


Added on: March 11, 2013

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-3813.php



Update from Upstate Chamber Coalition


Added on: March 4, 2013

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-3113.php.



Update from Upstate Chamber Coalition


Added on: February 25, 2013

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-22213.php



Road Map to the Future


Added on: February 25, 2013

The Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce voted unanimously at their February 14 Board of Directors Meeting to approve The Road Map to the Future document addressing South Carolina’s infrastructure needs. This plan details a three-prong approach to present before the SC General Assembly calling for critically important widening projects to interstates, fixing load restricted and deficient bridges and resurfacing existing roadways.

The recommendations to the General Assembly from this plan are as follows:

1.       Dedicate 20% of new general fund revenue
2.       Dedicate capital reserve funds
3.       Re-direct existing vehicle related revenue

 “The Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce, along with 10 civic and business organizations, stands united in our support of the Road Map to the Future proposals,” states Donna O. Smith, who serves as Vice-Chairman of Legislative Affairs for the Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee.  “The volume of traffic on our state’s roads continues to increase while maintenance and new construction declines.  This isn’t sustainable and will hinder economic development, and that is precisely why the Chamber’s Board unanimously adopted these recommendations.” 

To view a copy of Road Map to the Future, please click here



Upstate Healthcare Summit


Added on: February 20, 2013 @ 9:30 AM

Click the link below for more information

http://greerchamber.com/pdf/medicaid_expansion_summit.pdf



Update from Upstate Chamber Coalition


Added on: February 18, 2013

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-21513.php



Update from Upstate Chamber Coalition


Added on: February 11, 2013

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/2813-weekly-update.php



Update from Upstate Chamber Coalition


Added on: February 4, 2013

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-2113.php



Update from Upstate Chamber Coalition


Added on: January 28, 2013

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-12513.php



Update from Upstate Chamber Coalition


Added on: January 21, 2013

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-11813.php



SC Chamber of Commerce Competitiveness Update


Added on: January 21, 2013

Click the link below for more information

http://www.scchamber.net/UserFiles/scchcom/Documents/Advocacy/Competitiveness%20Update/2013/CU_1-18-2013Web.pdf



Leatherman Bill to Assist Angel Investors


Added on: January 21, 2013

Click the link below for more information

https://www.columbiabusinessreport.com/news/46473-tax-credit-bill-aims-to-boost-high-growth-businesses



Update from Upstate Chamber Coalition


Added on: January 15, 2013

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-11113.php



2013 SC Legislative Preview


Added on: January 11, 2013

 

 The 2013 South Carolina legislative session is shaping up to be an interesting one with several high-profile issues on the table and many new faces in the State House. The 2012 elections have given the General Assembly quite a makeover as we will see 10 new members in the SC Senate, and 20 new members in the SC House of Representatives. 

As in years past, priorities can change with the wind at the State House. For now, there are several issues that are expected to be at the forefront of debate during the 2013 session, including: 

  • Economic Development – Look for legislation providing incentives to attract private capital for start-up companies, and initiatives to improve the civil litigation climate in SC to surface during this session. 

 

  • Election Reform – After last year’s election cycle where over 200 candidates were kicked off of the ballot, we can expect the legislature to make some changes in our state’s election laws regarding the candidate filing process. 

 

  • Ethics Reform – In addition to the Governor’s newly formed SC Ethics Reform Commission, both the House and Senate are working on their own ethics reform proposals. Legislators point out that it has been nearly 20 years since they last passed ethics reform legislation. One of the largest changes is the widespread adoption of email and other technologies that weren’t widely used in the early 1990s. 

 

  • Government Restructuring – During the past two years, the General Assembly has spent time debating a Department of Administration bill, but has failed to agree upon legislation in both Chambers. This has been one of Governor Haley’s priorities since taking office, so expect it to be debated again this year. 

 

  •  Infrastructure Funding – This is fast becoming the state business community’s top priority for 2013. SC spends an average of $15,000 per mile on its roads, while Georgia spends $35,000 per mile, and North Carolina spends more than $150,000. We have not seen a dedicated revenue increase for our state’s infrastructure since 1987. With SC’s population increasing, tourism increasing, and the SC Ports Authority expecting port volumes to double to more than two million containers by 2025, now is the time to act. 

 

  • Medicaid Expansion –The June decision by the US Supreme Court over the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has allowed states to decide if they want to expand their Medicaid rolls. The expansion of Medicaid would force SC to cover all people ages 18-64 whose income is up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $15,000 annually. Governor Haley has already said that SC won’t accept the expansion, but this is sure to be a hot topic of debate during the state budget process. According to SC Department of Health and Human Service Director Anthony Keck, the best estimate is that 510,000 additional South Carolinians would enroll in Medicaid if the expansion is accepted. The federal government would pay for 100% of the cost for the expansion from 2014-2016, with SC paying a portion of the cost in 2017 and beyond. 

 

  • Security Breach – With this fall’s data security breach, Majority Leader Bannister of Greenville is chairing an investigative committee to see how this happened and how we insure it doesn’t happen again. Some legislative action may be taken to expand the free credit monitoring service for all SC tax payers beyond one year. 

 

  • State Budget – Last year, the General Assembly passed a $6.7 billion general fund budget, and legislators had the luxury of deciding how to spend a large surplus. They did several positive things with the surplus dollars, including fully funding the estimated amount of state and federal dollars to dredge the Port of Charleston ($300 million). This year’s projections don’t look as bright thus far in terms of a surplus, so expect more debate on where to allocate dollars and how funds should be used. 

 

  • Tax Reform – The General Assembly began to discuss comprehensive tax reform last year, but with the exception of a reduction in a tax rate for small businesses, not a lot of action was taken. Business properties pay the seventh highest property taxes and SC manufacturers currently pay the highest industrial property taxes in the nation. Look for the debate and discussion to continue this session. 

 

  • Workforce Development – The General Assembly realizes that developing a highly-skilled and well-educated workforce is critical to increasing job opportunities for SC citizens. This may be a hot topic in 2013. Taking programs such as WorkKeys statewide and fully funding ReadySC and Smart State are critical. At the early childhood education level, First Steps will be up for reauthorization in 2013. 


Transportation Infrastructure Task Force Releases Final Report


Added on: January 11, 2013

Transportation Infrastructure Task Force Releases Final Report on South Carolina's Needs and Options

This report is based on a year-long effort by the Transportation Infrastructure Task Force, a diverse group of transportation professionals and private citizens from across the state of South Carolina. It was sanctioned, reviewed and approved by the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) Commission. The Task Force was chaired by Craig Forrest, Vice Chairman of the SCDOT Commission who also represented the Commission in this study.

 

Report can be found here.



Chamber Biz...Update from South Carolina Chamber of Commerce


Added on: June 7, 2012

Click the link below for more information

http://data.scchamber.net/CBizMobileText.aspx



Upstate Chamber Coalition Legislative Update


Added on: June 5, 2012

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-6112.php



Competitiveness Update


Added on: June 5, 2012

Click the link below for more information

http://capwiz.com/scchamber/utr/1/DWRIRUKHEU/FUFWRUKHHL/8354012566



Upstate Chamber Coalition Legislative Update


Added on: March 30, 2012

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-33012.php



SC Chamber Competitiveness Update


Added on: March 30, 2012

Thumbs Up: To Sens. Kevin Bryant (Anderson) and John Scott (Richland) for working out a bipartisan compromise on S.1125, legislation to eliminate unemployment benefits to workers fired for misconduct.
 
Thumbs Up: To Reps. Tom Young (Aiken) and Eddie Tallon (Spartanburg) for their leadership in passing H.4043, legislation that would end unemployment benefits to workers who fail or refuse drug tests by prospective employers.
 
Senate Passes Major UI Reform
On a 40-0 vote, the Senate unanimously passed legislation to eliminate unemployment benefits if a worker is fired for misconduct. Last year, approximately $50 million was paid to workers fired for misconduct, 10 percent of all payouts that year. The bill, sponsored by Sens. Lee Bright (Spartanburg), Kevin Bryant (Anderson) and others, protects employer contributions to the system at a time when the state is still working to repay federal loans, which currently stand at $783 million dollars.
 
“This bill will not only protect businesses, but protects the benefits of workers who make a claim for legitimate reasons,” said Sen. Bright (Spartanburg).
 
“We have to keep the cost of business as low as possible in South Carolina, both for the business owners and the consumers,” said Sen. Bryant (Anderson).
 
Also last year, it was reported that more than $86 million was paid to workers who made fraudulent claims. It has also surfaced that the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) charged specific companies for these fraudulent benefits. Therefore, Sens. Bryant (Anderson), Greg Ryberg (Aiken), John Scott (Richland) and Vincent Sheheen (Kershaw) added an amendment that would credit back employers for these fraudulent claims, another major reform effort.
 
By a vote of 70-24, the House passed H.4043, legislation to allow prospective employers to submit failed drug tests to the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) as a basis for disqualification of unemployment benefits. The bill, sponsored by Reps. Eddie Tallon (Spartanburg) and Tom Young (Aiken), is a common sense step forward with one of the criteria for maintaining benefits being “able and available” to work. If a job applicant is offered work, but fails or refuses a drug test, unemployment benefits should clearly be stopped.
 
Senate Receives Legislation to Restore Balance to PCA
This week, the Senate received the House-passed Pollution Control Act (PCA) fix with no amendments. The business community continues to work towards a common sense solution to remedy the overreaching court decision in the Smith Land Company case.
 
The business community is working closely with Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler (Cherokee) and Sen. Brad Hutto (Orangeburg) on language that will restore regulatory certainty while maintaining a legitimate chance to pass the Senate this session. While the business community needs an immediate fix, employers cannot accept a bill that does not adequately protect businesses from private citizen suits.
 
H.4654 would restore 61 years of balance overturned when the South Carolina Supreme Court issued its Smith Land Company opinion. Now, any discharges or emissions into the environment require a permit, even if a permit does not exist. The ruling also creates a private right of action for any citizen or citizens group to bring suit against those “violating” the PCA. Correcting the court ruling is critical to restoring regulatory certainty and maintaining a pro-business climate. North Carolina and Georgia do not have this court-imposed private right of action.
 
Tax Reform Bills Advance
The House Ways and Means Committee advanced two tax reform bills this week, including one (H.4997) that collapses the income tax brackets from 6 to 3 and another (H.4996) that cuts the business income entrepreneurs report on personal tax forms from 5 percent to 3 percent. H.4996 would result in a $59 million tax cut for nearly 60,000 small business owners.
 
Earlier this month, the House Republican Caucus Tax Reform Study Committee filed seven bills after months of study. The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce has called for comprehensive tax reform for several years with tax policy reflecting pro-job creation, pro-growth policies. The South Carolina Chamber’s internal committees and member companies are engaged in reviewing the proposals.
 
Business Community Shows Support for Ex-Im Bank Reauthorization
The U.S. Senate is considering legislation that would reauthorize the Export Import (Ex-Im) Bank of the United States, the official export credit agency of the U.S. that assists in financing the export of goods and services at no cost to taxpayers. The Ex-Im Bank’s charter will expire May 31, 2012, and if the Bank is not reauthorized prior to this date, critical credit for exporters and suppliers will be at risk.  
 
In an op-ed that appeared in The Greenville News, South Carolina Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Otis Rawl and South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance President and CEO Lewis Gossett point out that most manufacturing operations in South Carolina are small facilities, and many of these businesses depend upon the Ex-Im Bank to provide their customers with financing that cannot be obtained elsewhere.
 
“As businesses tackle many other areas of our financial and regulatory world that put us at a disadvantage, we need Congress to maintain one of the few government entities that helps South Carolina companies remain competitive. To do otherwise would put our businesses at a disadvantage in the global marketplace,” said Rawl and Gossett in the op-ed. Read the full opinion editorial.
 
Last year alone, the Ex-Im Bank supported more than $40 billion in U.S. exports that helped create or sustain 290,000 U.S. jobs at more than 3,600 companies. Additionally, the Ex-Im Bank is self-sustaining. In the years since it was last authorized in 2006, the Bank has returned $3.4 billion to the U.S. Treasury above and beyond the cost of its operations.
 
Last week, the South Carolina House unanimously passed resolutions sponsored by House Speaker Bobby Harrell (Charleston) urging South Carolina’s congressional delegation to support the reauthorization of the Bank. In the Senate, Sen. Paul Campbell (Berkeley) sponsored a similar resolution that passed.
 
In Other News…
A conference committee finalized charter school reform legislation this week that would provide more options for students and parents in the public education system. The House adopted the conference report by a vote of 105-0. When the Senate returns in one week from furlough, it will address the conference report. Conferees are: Sens. John Matthews (Orangeburg), Wes Hayes (York) and Mike Fair (Greenville) and Reps. Jimmy Neal (Lancaster), Phil Owens (Pickens) and Andy Patrick (Beaufort). The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce supports the legislation.
 
H.3152, government restructuring legislation, calling for the joint election of the governor and lieutenant governor, was set for Special Order in the Senate. The legislation is part of the South Carolina Chamber’s Competitiveness Agenda.
 
S.772, the Tort Claims Act, legislation applying to local and state governments that would remove caps on economic and non-economic damages, was amended by the Senate Judiciary Committee to link damage limitations to the consumer price index. The South Carolina Civil Justice Coalition, of which the Chamber is an active member, opposes the amendment.
 
This week, the Senate confirmed Holly Pisarik to lead the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (LLR).
 
This week, Sen. Larry Martin (Pickens) was appointed to serve on the Judicial Merit Selection Commission to fill the vacant seat of Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell. South Carolina Chamber President and CEO Otis Rawl said, “Properly screening judicial candidates is a critical part of the process of selecting qualified, fair judges. Having a pro-business leader like Sen. Larry Martin serve on the Judicial Merit Selection Commission will ensure fair and balanced judges are selected to serve this great state.”
 
The Senate Judiciary Committee will review the nomination of Melody James for the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. The Chamber urges the Senate Judiciary Committee to review nominations based on a candidate’s ability to be fair and objective.
 
The House will be on furlough for the next two weeks and will return to Columbia April 17. The Senate will furlough next week and return to Columbia April 10.


Update from Upstate Chamber Coalition


Added on: March 27, 2012

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-32312.php



SC Competitiveness Update


Added on: March 27, 2012

Click the link below for more information

http://www.scchamber.net/UserFiles/scchcom/Documents/Advocacy/Competitiveness%20Update/CU_3-23-2012Web.pdf



House Approves State Budget


Added on: March 20, 2012

Tax relief, port dredging, teacher raises included in a balanced budget

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The House of Representatives approved a balanced 2012-2013 general fund state budget today, sending more than $600 million in tax relief, prioritizing teacher raises, and adhering to the House’s spending limit legislation.

The highlight of the budget is an increase of the “base student cost” to $2,012 in 2012, sending more money down to our state’s classrooms. That increase is designated to give teachers their first pay raise in four years. The budget also sets aside $180 million to dredge the Port of Charleston to assist with economic expansion. It also includes funding for 50 new state law enforcement officers and fully funds the reserve fund requirements approved by voters in 2008.

Other budget items of note:

·         The total General Fund budget (recurring and non-recurring) is $6.5 billion.

·         The total budget from all funds (general fund, federal, and “other”) is $23.3 billion.

·         There is $549 million in the budget for property tax relief for homeowners.

·         The budget includes $77 million in unemployment tax relief for businesses.

·         Funded Medicaid at current levels.

·         Budget growth falls nearly 1% below the spending cap approved by the House last year.

·         More than 50 agencies are funded at or below last year’s levels.

·         Since the GOP took control of the House in 1994, we have cut the number of funded state employee positions by 15%.



Update from Rita Allison


Added on: March 20, 2012

The 2012/2013 State Appropriations Bill was given 3rd Reading in the SC House this Thursday, March 15, 2012. It will now go to the Senate for debate.

Below are some key points concerning the House Budget:
 
Total Budget
General Fund (Part 1A) expenditures - $5,978,786,084
Total Budget (Recurring, Nonrecurring, Federal, Other, and CRF) - $23 billion
 
Reserve Accounts
A total of $573 million is placed into reserve accounts
o Nearly $400 million in Constitutionally and Statutorily required reserve accounts (General Reserve Fund and Capital Reserve Fund)
o $180 million in the Charleston Harbor Deepening Reserve Fund
 
State Employee Pay Raise
Granted at 2% state employee pay raise - $28.25 million.
 
Education
Added an additional $152 million to K-12 education to increase the Base Student Cost to $2,012 per student.
By proviso, the districts are directed to insure that the additional funding will be used to provide district staff with pay increases.
 
Health Care
Fully funded the Medicaid program’s Maintenance of Effort which allows the program to continue to offer services at the current level.
Restored over $18 million in funding to the Department of Mental Health.
Provided $3.6 million to Vocational Rehabilitation to nearly fully match federal funds available.
 
Economic Development
Provided $77 million worth of tax relief to businesses across the State by contributing funds to repay the SUTA debt. (State Unemployment Debt)
 This $77 million means all businesses in SC will see an average savings in their UI taxes of 12.3% or $51.11 per worker.
Funded programs that have proven successful in helping put people back to work:
 Over $24 million to help train workers through the ReadySC program at the Technical Colleges.
 Increased funding for the Deal Closing fund at the Department of Commerce by $10 million on the line with the positional to direct an additional $30 million to the Closing Fund by proviso.
Increased funding for the Destination Specific tourism advertising program. This is a public/private partnership that has been proven successful in boosting South Carolina’s tourism economy.
 
Law Enforcement
Over $21 million in new money to the State’s two primary law enforcement departments (SLED, Department of Public Safety).
Provided an additional 3% pay raise for class one officers at DNR, DPS, and PPP - a total raise of 5%.
 
Local Government Fund
Like 50 other state agencies the Local Government Fund was not provided any additional funds - the fund remains at the current level of $182 million.
 
 
In the coming weeks the SC House will be debating the SC Retirement Legislation, the Department of Administration Legislation and the Public/Private Choice Legislation.
 
I will be filing for re-election to the SC House on Friday, March 16th at 12:00 noon. I appreciate the support you have given me over these last two years and I look forward to continuing to serve you and the State of South Carolina with good conservative government. We are moving forward in South Carolina with new jobs, less government, tax reform, good education for all students, and an a atmosphere of transparency and accountability. You are why I serve and I welcome your input, ideas and concerns at all times. My experience is used to serve you in an effective and meaningful way.
 
April 12th is the 60 day window for putting campaign signs up, except on private property. If you would honor me with putting a yard sign in your yard, or if you have an area to put up a large sign….please email or call me and we will have one delivered to you. I thank you in advance for this consideration. 


Because I care,
Rita



Legislative Update from Tommy Stringer


Added on: March 20, 2012

Hello all,  
 

Last week was very busy with the budget debate and the introduction of the tax reform bills. I have posted several articles on these issues to my website that you might of interest.  

    Tax Reform Impact  

    Tax Reform Rationale  

    Tax Reform Details  

    Budget Details  

My website can be found at www.tommystringer.com.  

I appreciate the opportunity to represent you all. 

Best Regards,  Tommy 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Legislative Update


Added on: March 20, 2012

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-31612.php



SC Competitiveness Update


Added on: March 20, 2012

Click the link below for more information

http://www.scchamber.net/UserFiles/scchcom/Documents/Advocacy/Competitiveness%20Update/CU_3-16-2012Web.pdf



Upstate likely to feel power shift in Senate


Added on: March 15, 2012

COLUMBIA —

The Upstate's influence could grow as the result of Tuesday's leadership changes in the South Carolina Senate, some senators and political observers say.

While much of Tuesday's political drama concerned the elevation of Sen. Glenn McConnell of Charleston to lieutenant governor and the election of Sen. John Courson of Columbia as president pro tempore, three Senate committees changed chairmen, based on seniority.

Sen. Larry Martin of Pickens, the former chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, became chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, while Sen. Jake Knotts of Lexington County becomes chairman of the Senate Rules Committee and Sen. Billy Odell of Ware Shoals becomes chairman of the Senate Invitations Committee.

Martin said he believes he is the first senator from the Greenville-Pickens area, perhaps from the Upstate, to serve as chairman of the judiciary committee, one of the Senate's two most powerful panels.

"Obviously the influence of the Upstate I think, will be more greatly felt from the standpoint that we've never had someone in that position," Martin told GreenvilleOnline.com.

Chip Felkel, a Greenville Republican political consultant, agreed.

"Certainly it gives the Upstate some added juice, if you will, that it may have been lacking on the Senate side for a while," he said. "Just about everything has to come through judiciary so I think that goes a long way toward helping us regain some of that lost clout."

That clout at one time included legislators such as former U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins, who served as House speaker, former House Speaker Rex Carter of Greenville, the late House Speaker Pro Tempore Terry Haskins and the late Sen. Verne Smith of Greer, one of the Senate's ranking Republicans at the time he resigned due to poor health.

Governors from the Upstate's included former Gov. Dick Riley, a Democrat, and the late Carroll Campbell, a Republican.

Upstate powers

In addition to Martin, five other chairmanships belong to Upstate senators: Sen. David Thomas of Fountain Inn, chairman of the Banking and Insurance Committee; Sen. Mike Fair of Greenville, chairman of the Corrections and Penology Committee; Sen. Danny Verdin of Laurens, chairman of the Agricultural and Natural Resources Committee; Sen. Thomas Alexander of Walhalla, chairman of the General Committee; and Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler of Gaffney, who chairs the Medical Affairs Committee.

Peeler lost to Courson for president pro tempore by a vote of 27-17 Tuesday.

In the House, Rep. Bruce Bannister of Greenville serves as assistant House majority leader, Rep. Brian White of Anderson is chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. William Sandifer of Seneca is chairman of the House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee, Rep. Phil Owens of Easley is chairman of the House Education and Public Works Committee and Rep. Garry Smith of Simpsonville is chairman of the House Operations and Management Committee.

Thomas said Martin's chairmanship is almost as big for the Upstate as when Wilkins became speaker.

He said it means so much because in the Senate, a chairmanship is obtained by seniority, meaning that it takes a long time to earn and a chairman cannot be replaced unless he or she leaves office.

'Major move'

"This is a major move for us," he said. "We've looked for this for a long time."

Tuesday's reshuffling of Senate leadership posts was the result of the resignation of former Lt. Gov. Ken Ard last week.

Ard resigned before State Attorney General Alan Wilson announced he had been indicted on seven counts of ethics violations related to his campaign fund.

Ard was sentenced Friday to five years probation and 300 hours community service.

The state's constitution says the Senate's president pro tempore is next in line if the lieutenant governor leaves office.

But that did not make the choice easy for McConnell, the Senate's top leader since 2001 who had dreaded the scenario of being forced to leave his post for the much less powerful lieutenant governor's job.

On Tuesday, senators, some with emotion in their voices, walked to the podium in a packed chamber that included Gov. Nikki Haley, to praise McConnell's act and service.

South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Jean Toal, who administered the oath to McConnell Tuesday, praised McConnell for agreeing to become lieutenant governor, lauding his "courage, integrity and intense sense of responsibility."

She called McConnell "our bright and shining star."

McConnell said giving up his Senate seat was "a sad moment for me."

"Today we remind the public that oaths of office matter," McConnell told the Senate, "and people should and can expect that whoever takes the oath of office as president pro tempore will do as they swore to do and fulfill the constitutional duty of becoming lieutenant governor, if there is a permanent vacancy."



Update from Rita Allison


Added on: March 13, 2012

A bill designed to fix SC's pension system was approved this week in full committee and will be heading to the House floor for debate after the budget week. About 220,000 public workers are affected. The bill requires newly hired employees to work an additional two years to collect full retirement benefits, while current employees could still retire after 28 years. It requires workers to contribute more towards their retirement; increasing the contribution from 6.5 percent of their salary to 7.5 percent, phasing in over two years. A bipartisan panel crafted this plan over months of deliberation. It will likely be amended as it travels through the House and Senate process.  
 
While many people around the state have been calling for reform of the SC Department of Transportation to stay on the front burner, the flame was doused this week. The DOT reform legislation was kicked back to committee after heated floor debate. It's unlikely we see it again this session. The SCDOT needs reforming, but we must make sure that we do not make a bad system, worse in the process of reform. This week Gov. Haley met privately with House Republicans expressing her desire to work with us to accomplish major reform. The next day she used a different approach. The Governor delivered a speech accusing the House GOP Caucus of not acting like Republicans because budget writers rejected her proposal to cut taxes by $140 million. There was swift reaction from Speaker Bobby Harrell: "The truth is, we have cut taxes over $20 billion since Republicans took control of the House of Representatives, and this year's budget has over $500 million in tax relief. But we are also acting like South Carolinians by protecting our state's ports and funding $180 million to deepen the Charleston Harbor. This is contrary to Governor Haley and her DHEC Board and the state of Georgia over the Savannah River dredging. We understand what is important to Republicans, and we understand what is important to South Carolinians."

The SC House Budget will be debated on the floor this week. It will likely take the full week, as we vote on each line item in the budget. This is a part of the Transparency Law. To watch us go to www.scstatehouse.gov

 
The House Ways and Means Committee approved the Public/Private home-grown school choice bill on a vote of 16-8. It was a major step for
H.4894 which primarily supports low-income students and students with exceptional needs. The plan offers tax credit funded scholarships for those children to attend the independent school of their parents' choice. Tax deductions are offered to parents who send their child to an independent school, home-school or send their child across district lines. Schools accepting these students much post their test scores on line and meet the graduation requirements. House debate will come in the weeks following the budget.

S.C. has open primary elections allowing voters to cross-over to vote in opposing parties primaries. That would change with the passage of
H.3110 which would require party registration to vote in partisan primary. Thirty states currently have closed or semi-closed partisan primaries.
 
The full House approved the bill
(H.4451) that bans texting while driving. The bill calls for violators to receive stiff fines, particularly if they are in an accident with injuries while texting. SC is one of only 8 states with no statewide texting while driving ban. The bill now goes to the Senate. 
 
Another House committee has approved the bill to ban teens from "sexting". The Judiciary Committee voted to send the bill to the House floor. Teens 16 and under could be fined $100 if they forward a "sext." 
 
The South Carolina Department of Commerce has launched a new service called the SC Business Network at
SCBizNetwork.com. The service provides 24-7 resources to small businesses and entrepreneurs interested in turning their business concepts into reality. Its goal is to be a web hub of information and resources to better serve the small business community and unleash the job-creating power of entrepreneurs.     

Because I care,
Rita



SC Competitiveness Update


Added on: March 13, 2012

Click the link below for more information

http://www.scchamber.net/UserFiles/scchcom/Documents/Advocacy/Competitiveness%20Update/CU_3-9-2012Web.pdf



Update from Upstate Chamber Coalition


Added on: March 13, 2012

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-3912.php



Washington Update


Added on: March 8, 2012

PLEASE JOIN US FOR A PUBLIC POLICY LUNCHEON FEATURING A WASHINGTON UPDATE FROM CONGRESSMEN TREY GOWDY & JEFF DUNCAN

Thursday, April 5, 2012
Poinsett Club Greenville, SC

Noon-1:00 pm 

Registration & networking will begin at 11:30 am 

Seating is limited. Register here today! 

 



Update from Rita Allison


Added on: March 5, 2012

Legislation to reform the state retirement system will soon be dropped in the SC House. An ad-hoc committee made up of House and Senate members have been working on solutions to reduce its $13 billion deficit. The proposal calls for state workers to pay an extra 1% from each paycheck into the retirement fund - an average increase of $408 a year. Current employees will see little change, but new hires would have to work 30 years, or reach age 65 with five years of service, in order to retire with benefits. Additionally, new hires would be ineligible for the TERI program, the controversial program that allows employees to retire and receive benefits while still working. All of the changes would apply to members of the S.C. Retirement System, the largest of the state's five pension systems, which includes state employees, local government employees and teachers. Police officers, firefighters and other law enforcement officers have their own retirement system.
 
The S.C. House members joined in overturning the Governor's veto of a resolution concerning port expansion. The vote was 111 to 1. Yesterday, the Senate also voted unanimously to overturn her veto. The resolution becomes law. 
 
The bill to ban teens from "sexting" cleared its first legislative hurdle this week. Teens 16 and under could be fined $100 if they forward to others a "sext."  The boy or girl who sends or receives the "sext" would not be penalized. But if they forward it on to a third party, they could be fined by a Family Court judge.
 
The SC House will take up the Budget the week of March 12th. Many of the highlights of the House budget include raises for public employees, including teachers and certain law enforcement officers. Medicaid will be funded to maintain services at the current level. Funds will be provided for workforce training and reducing the unemployment debt. $180 million will be set aside for deepening of the Charleston Harbor and $30 million will go to County Transportation Committees to maintain road infrastructure. We have fully funded state reserve funds and provided $182 million to local governments.

I welcome your input, ideas and concerns. Please call on me anytime! You are why I serve and it has never been more important to get the full information and true facts, than in today’s world of “special interest.” 

Because I care,
Rita



SC Competiveness Update


Added on: March 5, 2012

Click the link below for more information

http://www.scchamber.net/UserFiles/scchcom/Documents/Advocacy/Competitiveness%20Update/CU_3-2-2012-Web.pdf



Upstate Chamber Coalition Weekly Update


Added on: March 5, 2012

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-3212.php



SC Competitiveness Update


Added on: February 17, 2012

Click the link below for more information

http://www.scchamber.net/UserFiles/scchcom/Documents/Advocacy/Competitiveness%20Update/CU_2-10-2012Web.pdf



ChamberBiz - S.C. Chamber Taking the Fight to Big Labor


Added on: February 17, 2012

Click the link below for more information

http://data.scchamber.net/CBizMobileText.aspx



Legislatve Update from Tommy Stringer


Added on: February 17, 2012

Hello all,

I have posted several articles to my website describing my efforts over the last few weeks.

In addition to my regular weekly updates, you might find the following of interest -

SC K-12 Education Statistics - I personally compiled these from the National Center for Education Statistics.

SC Benefit Corporation Act - An innovative bill that encourages increased corporate support of charities.

The Official SC House GOP Agenda - A further description of tax reform, pension reform and right-to-work efforts.

I appreciate the opportunity to represent you all.

Best Regards,

Tommy

 



Upstate from Rita Allison


Added on: February 14, 2012

E-Update

The top item on this year’s Majority Caucus agenda is systemic tax reform.  The committee, which I served on and met during the interim without compensation,  focused on creating a fairer tax code and examined each of the sales tax exemptions on their merit. It then searched the tax code for ways we could be fairer to taxpayers and stimulate the economy. The legislation being written will eliminate nearly two-thirds of the special interest sales tax exemptions, flatten income taxes, lower the sales tax, reform property taxes, and lower burdensome taxes on small businesses.

One agenda item was completed this week with approval of the Right to Work Act. This legislation identified more than a half-dozen places where our Right to Work Act could be strengthened to protect our workers, and protect individual liberty. The bill was pre-filed with the entire Republican Caucus signed on as co-sponsors. Every South Carolinian should have the right to work and make a living for his or her family without being forced to join a union or pay dues. Union participation should be a matter of choice for any worker, but our workers must be protected from undue coercion or influence by unions or businesses.

As a side note:
When the new driver’s license is redesigned a “V” will appear to designate that the person is a Veteran.  The comprehensive license plate legislation that passed the House this week will not prevent that from happening……the DMV needs time to develop the new driver’s license design and get them issued.  This is two different issues of plates and license.

Secondly, I urge all citizens to not give personal information or to talk with people on the phone that you do not know. Also, to not answer emails that you might get from people you do not know. There is a terrible scam out there that is preying on people over the phone and through emails. The same thing can happen through the mail…..if you do not know the person, do not communicate with them. In many cases they will tell you that you have won something, that your bank is changing procedures and etc. If you do not know them or if you are not sure…..call your bank or business that is referred to by the information.

The SC House is on furlough this week to save the state money. We will return the week of February 20th at which time House Ways and Means Committee will begin the budget in full committee.

I wish each of you and yours a very Happy Valentine Day!

Because I care,
Rita



SC Competitiveness Update


Added on: February 3, 2012

Click the link below for more information

http://www.scchamber.net/UserFiles/scchcom/Documents/Advocacy/Competitiveness%20Update/CU_2-3-2012Web.pdf



Upstate Chamber Coalition


Added on: February 3, 2012

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-2312.php



New S.C. immigration law to affect employers


Added on: January 3, 2012

Click the link below for more information

http://www.gsabusiness.com/news/42120-new-s-c-immigration-law-to-affect-employers




Added on: September 21, 2011

Please note that information on employer tax notices, credits, and refunds has been posted to the DEW website at dew.sc.gov/emp-land.asp

Starting October 1, 2011 employers can request refunds of 2nd quarter overpayments electronically through our website (more details to come), by mail, or through email. 

This week we mailed out revised 2011 tax rate notices to any business that had a change in their tax rate as a result of H3700. 

Information on individual business credits will be found in your regular 3rd quarter tax information packet. You will also be able to view this credit through the online application mentioned available October 1st.

Erica M. Von Nessen, Ph.D.
S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce



Charleston Eligible to Receive Federal Funds for Harbor Deepening & Dredging


Added on: September 9, 2011

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today said a new provision placed in the Senate Energy & Water Appropriations bill could be a breakthrough for next year’s funding of the Charleston Harbor Post-45 Deepening effort. 

 Graham is a member of the Appropriations Committee and worked to include the language which passed through committee.

 Under the provision affecting Charleston Harbor Deepening:

 

  • Funding for ongoing Army Corp of Engineer projects -- which were not included in the President’s budget submission to Congress -- will be eligible to apply for and receive up to $10.5 million for ongoing harbor studies.   

 

  • The South Carolina State Ports Authority, along with other ports from across the country, will be eligible to submit an application requesting funding for their project.

 

  • The Army Corp of Engineers will make the final determination on which ports receive funding and the amount.

 “This is a breakthrough for Fiscal Year 2012 funding on the Port of Charleston,” said Graham.  “It does not solve all our future funding issues, but it will allow us to keep making progress over the next year.”

 “Under the old system, we would have been shut out because we were not included in the President’s budget,” said Graham.  “Now, Charleston will have the opportunity to apply for and receive funding from this account to continue our deepening study.  Without the study, we can’t design and begin actual construction on a deeper harbor. 

 “At the end of the day, Charleston Harbor deepening is about jobs,” said Graham.  “Today, one out of every five jobs in South Carolina is tied – directly and indirectly – to the operation of the Port.  Deepening the port will allow us to keep these jobs in our state and also create jobs in the future.  That’s why I have long believed that when it comes to deepening Charleston Harbor, failure is simply not an option.”

 Graham also thanked Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-California) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee) for their assistance in helping push forward with this important change in committee. 

 “It would not have been possible without bipartisan cooperation,” said Graham.  “I’m proud that other members of the committee listened to the concerns that were raised and allowed us to come up with a proposal to allow port studies like Charleston to move forward.”

 The Army Corp of Engineers Charleston Harbor study began in June is expected to cost up to $20 million and take up to five years to complete.  The federal government will supply half of the funding and the other half will come from the South Carolina State Ports Authority.

 Graham also said the committee passed language requiring the Army Corp of Engineers to submit to the Senate Appropriations Committee their ‘national vision’ on how our nations’ ports should handle the post-Panamax vessels that currently transit the Suez Canal and will soon advantage of the Panama Canal Expansion.  The Corp has 180 days to complete the report and send it back to the committee.

 The committee also included language providing $30 million for harbor maintenance funding and $15 million for Inland Channel Navigation Maintenance.  The Georgetown port will be eligible to apply for and receive funding from these sources to meet their dredging needs.



Obama shelves new smog rules, citing regulatory burden


Added on: September 8, 2011

NAM: President Obama shelves new smog rules, citing regulatory burden

According to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the Associated Press (9/2, Cappiello, Pace) reported President Obama, "in a dramatic reversal," shelved "a clean-air regulation that aimed to reduce health-threatening smog, yielding to bitterly protesting businesses and congressional Republicans who complained the rule would kill jobs in America's ailing economy. Withdrawal of the proposed regulation marked the latest in a string of retreats by the president in the face of GOP opposition, and it drew quick criticism from liberals."

In a statement on the Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards, President Obama said, “At the same time, I have continued to underscore the importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty, particularly as our economy continues to recover. With that in mind, and after careful consideration, I have requested that Administrator Jackson withdraw the draft Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards at this time.”

The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce is NAM’s designated state partner and continues to partner with NAM to fight unnecessary regulations by spearheading grassroots efforts with the state’s congressional delegation.



Update: Important Tax Rate Information


Added on: August 10, 2011

Click the link below for more information

http://dew.sc.gov/documents/Tax_rate_information.pdf



NLRB Action Alert


Added on: August 5, 2011

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) issued a NLRB ACTION ALERT.

For additional information, please click here.

NLRB ACTION ALERT

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently issued a proposed rule changing the Board’s procedure for union election campaigns. The proposal shortens the time frame for union election campaigns and makes other changes to the unionization process. The proposed rule contains a number of provisions of concern including:

 

  • Shortened Timeframe. Because unions can prepare their entire unionization campaign before making it public, shortening the time between filing and the election creates a disadvantage for employers. Unless employers have adequate time to prepare their educational materials, employees will not have full information about the pros and cons of unionization. In addition, the NLRB has not shown why the current timeframe (median of 38 days) needs to be shortened.
  • Changes to the Statement of Position. The proposal requires employers to disclose their entire case theory in this document and precludes employers from presenting evidence on any issue that the employer fails to include in the Statement. This preclusion raises due process issues for employers and is likely to increase litigation.
  • Mandated Disclosure of Employee Information. Under the rule, employers are required to turn over private employee information, including employee telephone numbers and e-mail addresses. The rule does not specify whether these are home or work contact information or both. This is an invasion of employee privacy and an invitation to distract employees during the workday.
  • Deferral of Representational Disputes. The proposed rule, under certain circumstances, defers litigation of representational disputes, such as the eligibility of voters, until after the election is held.

This NLRB proposal is the most recent action government entities have taken seeking to make unionization easier, and comments to the NLRB are due August 22, 2011.

It is important to note that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has also issued a proposal that would expand the public disclosure rules to require that employers report virtually all services regarding labor relations and union organizing. Taken together, the DOL and NLRB rules will severely inhibit employer free speech and have the effect of preventing employees from hearing both sides of the unionization debate. The comment period for the DOL rule was recently extended until September 21, 2011. SHRM will be providing you with addition information on how to comment on the DOL proposal as the September 21 deadline for comments approaches.

 

 



Chamber releases Legislative Scorecard


Added on: August 3, 2011

Click the link below for more information

http://www.gsabusiness.com/news/40539-chamber-releases-legislative-scorecard



Update from Tommy Stringer


Added on: July 29, 2011

Information on the following: Slaying Leviathan, Caucus Report – Redistricting, Caucus Report – End of Session


Click the link below for more information

http://www.tommystringer.com/



Haley signs tort reform law, creating punitive damages cap


Added on: July 28, 2011

Click the link below for more information

http://www.gsabusiness.com/news/40474-haley-signs-tort-reform-law-creating-punitive-damages-cap



Program to spur more than $180 million in lending


Added on: July 27, 2011

The South Carolina Jobs-Economic Development Authority (JEDA) announced today it will be leveraging $18 million in federal funds to spur more than $180 million in job-creating lending activity to small businesses. South Carolina Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Otis Rawl stood alongside JEDA and the South Carolina Bankers Association for the announcement. The program will make funds available to participating financial institutions to increase credit availability for qualifying credit worthy small businesses.

“As I travel the state, small businesses continue to cite access to capital as a major concern and a key competitiveness issue in growing their businesses. We thank our elected officials for authorizing this initiative that will ultimately create jobs,” said Otis Rawl, president and CEO of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce.

The South Carolina Senate has authorized implementation of the capital access program. The funds are South Carolina’s share of the $1.5 billion State Small Business Credit Initiative, created nationwide by the U.S. Treasury Department as part of the U.S. Small Business Jobs Act signed into law last fall.

“The state had to show that it could expect this investment would return at least $10 in new private lending for every $1 in federal funding,” said Lloyd Hendricks, president and CEO of the South Carolina Bankers Association.

JEDA will work with the Business Development Corporation of South Carolina to implement and administer the capital access program, called SC SSBCI CAP. For more information, visit www.scjeda.com or www.businessdevelopment.org



House education and workforce committee passes bill to limit NLRB’s powers


Added on: July 27, 2011

Click the link below for more information

http://www.gsabusiness.com/news/40456-house-committee-passes-bill-to-limit-nlrb-rsquo-s-powers



ShareThis IN PRINT: Crackdown


Added on: July 19, 2011

Click the link below for more information

http://www.gsabusiness.com/news/40360-in-print-crackdown?utm_source=MadMimi&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Businesses+must+adjust+to+immigration+law&utm_campaign=GSA+Morning+7_+19&utm_term=IN+PRINT_3A+Businesses+must+adjust+to+immigration+law



Hiring students between 16-23 years old?


Added on: July 19, 2011

Click below to fill out a FUTA exemption form. 


Click the link below to download the document

stwui1.pdf


SC Chamber of Commerce Weekly Update


Added on: July 13, 2011

Click the link below for more information

http://www.scchamber.net/cwt/external/wcpages/wcwebcontent/webcontentpage.aspx?contentid=1602



Unemployment tax rate decreases


Added on: July 7, 2011

Click the link below for more information

http://www.gsabusiness.com/news/40211-unemployment-tax-rate-decreases



E-Update from Representative Rita Allison


Added on: June 27, 2011

Click the link below for more information

http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/887415/025b36db80/1582573257/b11a023f57/



Charleston, Corps sign contract to advance port deepening


Added on: June 23, 2011

The deepening of the Port of Charleston passed another major milestone Monday with the signing of a cost-sharing agreement on the next phase of the project, which has been estimated to deliver $106 million in annual national benefits.

“Charleston deepening will open the port to all classes of the world’s most modern vessels under any tidal condition,” said South Carolina State Ports Authority President and CEO Jim Newsome. “While Charleston today has the region’s deepest channels and handles ships actually drawing up to 48 feet, this project will remove the tidal restrictions associated with the larger ships serving world trade.”

More than 360 ships too big for the Panama Canal have already called Charleston, three years before the $5-billion canal expansion is completed in 2014. Greater than 80 percent of the ship capacity on order is for ships too big for the existing canal.

In May, the Corps included funding for the feasibility study of the Charleston Harbor post-45 foot deepening project in its Fiscal Year 2011 Work Plan.

More than 20,000 companies in several dozen states use the Port of Charleston to access global markets. These businesses ship goods worth $50 billion a year through the Charleston Customs District and pay more than $600 million in duties into the General Treasury annually.

The U.S. Congress has already authorized Charleston deepening through the study phases, and the Reconnaissance Study approved last July concluded that Charleston is likely “the cheapest South Atlantic harbor to deepen to 50 feet.”

The next step is to begin the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process by planning and executing public and stakeholder meetings.

Darrell Scott 803-255-2639



E-Update from Rita Allison


Added on: June 21, 2011

Click the link below for more information

http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/887415/b27b9a6f68/1582573257/b11a023f57/



Update from Representative Tommy Stringer


Added on: June 21, 2011

Click the link below for more information

http://www.tommystringer.com/



Haley signs unemployment tax relief bill


Added on: June 16, 2011

Click the link below for more information

http://www.columbiabusinessreport.com/news/40002-haley-signs-unemployment-tax-relief-bill



E-Update from Rita Allison


Added on: June 8, 2011

Click the link below for more information

http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/887415/64e193bd9e/1582573257/b11a023f57/



Chamber Biz: South Carolina Chamber Update


Added on: June 8, 2011

Click the link below for more information

http://www.scchamber.net/cwt/external/wcpages/wcwebcontent/webcontentpage.aspx?contentid=1602



DeMint issues FOIA request for NLRB, Boeing documentation


Added on: June 8, 2011

Click the link below for more information

http://www.columbiabusinessreport.com/news/39910-demint-issues-foia-request-for-nlrb-boeing-documentation



S.C. unemployment tax reduction bill awaits governor’s approval


Added on: June 6, 2011

Click the link below for more information

http://www.columbiabusinessreport.com/news/39855-unemployment-tax-reduction-bill-awaits-haley-rsquo-s-approval?rss=0



Congressman Trey Gowdy Update


Added on: June 6, 2011

Click the link below for more information

http://gowdy.house.gov/news/email/show.aspx?ID=JCJM4IQYPW7W4YTGMJHCUKVZJA



Legislative Update 6.3.11


Added on: June 6, 2011

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-632011.php



Statehouse Report


Added on: June 2, 2011

Click the link below for more information

http://mim.io/23ac21



Governor Expected to Allow Amazon Exemption to Become Law


Added on: June 2, 2011

Click the link below for more information

http://www.columbiabusinessreport.com/news/39856-governor-expected-to-allow-amazon-exemption-to-become-law?rss=0



Unemployment Tax Reduction Bill Awaits Haley's Approval


Added on: June 2, 2011

Click the link below for more information

http://www.columbiabusinessreport.com/news/39855-unemployment-tax-reduction-bill-awaits-haley-rsquo-s-approval?rss=0



Employers Await Unemployment Insurance Relief


Added on: May 27, 2011 @ 9:00 AM

Click the link below for more information

http://www.columbiabusinessreport.com/news/39802-employers-await-action-on-relief-to-unemployment-tax?rss=0



Legislative Update 05.27.11


Added on: May 27, 2011 @ 11:00 AM

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-legislative-update-52711.php



SC Chamber Competitiveness Update


Added on: May 27, 2011 @ 4:00 PM

Click the link below for more information

http://www.scchamber.net/CWT/EXTERNAL/WCPAGES/DOCS/CU_5-27-2011WEB.PDF



SC Chamber Competitiveness Update


Added on: May 24, 2011 @ 9:00 AM

Click the link below for more information

http://www.scchamber.net/CWT/EXTERNAL/WCPAGES/DOCS/CU_5-20-2011WEB.PDF



Governor Haley Signs Bill Reinstating Contractor Liability Coverage


Added on: May 23, 2011 @ 4:30 PM

Governor Haley signs bill reinstating contractor liability coverage

By Ashley Fletcher Frampton
aframpton@scbiznews.com
Published May 20, 2011

Gov. Nikki Haley this week signed into law a bill declaring that contractors’ commercial general liability policies include coverage for damage that results from faulty construction.

The law effectively reverses a January ruling from the S.C. Supreme Court in the case Crossmann Communities v. Harleysville Mutual Insurance Co.

Prior to the ruling, contractors, subcontractors and developers had relied on general commercial liability insurance to cover lawsuits that arose from faulty workmanship.

But the court said those insurance policies do not cover damage if it is the natural and expected consequence of faulty construction, rather than the result of some outside event. That left building industry professionals on the hook financially for property damage caused by defective work.

Meanwhile, the case that prompted the new law is headed back to court on Monday. The S.C. Supreme Court granted a petition for rehearing in the case.



E-Update from Rita Allison


Added on: May 23, 2011 @ 5:00 PM

This week has been filled with much work to clear the calendar, a long visit with the Governor Haley and Secretary of Commerce Hitt on the very publicized Amazon issue, and continuing to work on re-districting and waiting on the Senate to finish giving third reading to the budget, so we can go to conference to debate the differences in the Senate and House versions. As of this E-Blast the Senate is still on the third reading of the State Budget.
 
Wednesday, Gov. Nikki Haley signed the Voter ID bill into law, requiring voters to present a photo ID at the polls. The legislation will strengthen the integrity of our elections.
 
Here are some facts about the Amazon deal
·       The terms of the legislation are very specific, and requires Amazon to meet its promises, or forfeit the safe harbor exemption.
·       The legislation approved Thursday ups the deal from 1,249 to 2,000 full-time jobs at an average salary of $33,000 per year, with health benefits
·       Amazon also increased their capital investment from $90 million to $125 million.
·       Estimated direct and indirect impact of 2,800 jobs in our state (based on the 1,249 jobs number)
·       The economic benefit from the Amazon deal is $1.1 BILLION, according to an economic analysis done with the same methods as the Boeing deal.
·       Amazon will not be opening retail shops in our state. This is only a distribution center to speed deliveries throughout the Southeast.
·       This is not an open-ended deal. The safe harbor exemptions end on January 1, 2016 and Amazon will begin paying sales tax.

More on the cost-benefit analysis (also based on the 1,249 jobs number):
·       The estimated revenue “loss” by the Amazon deal is $2.6 million in sales tax to the state.
·       The Amazon jobs will bring $5.3 million in income tax revenue…
·       Giving the deal a positive of $2.6 million to the state General Fund

Many of the details of this deal were unknown to members at the time of the original vote, and have changed since the first vote in April because we held Amazon’s feet to the fire. While supporters of the Amazon legislation remain upset about the way the deal was done, in the end this is a jobs bill, and jobs are the top priority of the House . This was a promise made to Amazon by the former administration, and other projects across the state have stalled because of the delay on the Amazon deal. The state’s business recruiters must have the confidence of businesses that they can negotiate in good faith on behalf of the state.

I don’t agree with the way this deal was negotiated, and I hope our current Governor and Commerce Secretary will keep this in mind. In the meantime, approving this deal was the right thing for the more than 2,800 families across the state who will be able to find solid, well-paying jobs. Our information also indicates that Amazon will be locating in other areas of our state, also. More jobs will be added at those sites, also.

This is another example of our need for comprehensive tax reform in our state. I will be working hard toward that goal with the House and Governor’s office in the interim. We also need a strategic economic development plan for this state and I have voiced that concern to the Governor’s office and leadership.

Other items addressed this week:
 
H. 3658 SC Employer Free Speech Act was given second reading by the House.
 
H. 3713  Point of Sale Legislation was given third reading by the House.
 
H. 3028  Giving teachers a 3 year induction instead of one year was given third reading.
 
H 3083  The SC Conservation Bank Reauthorization Act was given third reading.
 
For other legislation that passed the House this week or to see how we voted on each item, go to: www.schouse.gov.
 
Currently, we are working on a Statewide Water Management Plan for South Carolina and hope to see it accomplished in the coming year.

We are planning Town Hall Meetings in the near future to update our constituents on this year’s legislative session and what legislation has become law. Please mark your calendar when the dates are publicized.
 
Thank you for the honor of serving you and your family.

Rep. Rita Allison serves District 36 in Spartanburg County: Duncan, Lyman, Wellford, Holly Springs, Startex, Pelham, East Greer, Victor Mills, and other portions of Greer in Spartanburg County.



Builders Win Battle in Legislature


Added on: May 18, 2011 @ 9:00 AM

Click the link below for more information

http://www.charlestonbusiness.com/news/39625-legislature-passes-bill-reinstating-coverage-for-faulty-work



Medical School Expansion Clears Hurdle


Added on: May 18, 2011 @ 9:30 AM

Click the link below for more information

http://www.gsabusiness.com/news/39632-medical-school-expansion-clears-hurdle



Construction Set for Medical School


Added on: May 18, 2011 @ 10:00 AM

Click the link below for more information

http://www.gsabusiness.com/news/39672-construction-set-for-med-school-expansion



Federal Lawmakers Announce Funding for Port-Deepening Study


Added on: May 18, 2011 @ 10:00 AM

By James T. Hammond
jhammond@scbiznews.com

The Port of Charleston will receive a federal commitment of $150,000 through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to begin a post-45 deepening study, Sixth District Congressman and House Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn said today.

Clyburn was joined in a conference call with reporters by U.S. Sen. Lindsay Graham and Rep. Tim Scott of Charleston.

“This allows for the S.C. Ports Authority to enter into a contractual agreement and move forward with the investigations phase in order to effectively compete with Southeastern ports as we prepare for expansion of the Panama Canal,” Clyburn said. “The Army Corps Fiscal Year 2011 Work Plan listing the funding for the port study will be posted on the Corps of Engineers website this afternoon.”

“This is great news for the economy of South Carolina,” Clyburn said. “I appreciate the support from the Obama Administration for our efforts to ensure the Charleston Port remains a vital economic engine for South Carolina well into the future.”

Graham praised Clyburn for using his senior position in the Democratic hierarchy in Washington to get the deal done.

“Jim Clyburn’s position in the Democratic Party is no small matter here,” Graham said, who noted that he also threatened to hold up all nominations by the Obama Administration until the money was provided for the South Carolina port study.

“Sometimes you have to get their attention,” Clyburn said.

“This is not a local issue,” said Scott, “This is an issue about globalization.”

The Army Corps of Engineers has said it needed $400,000 for Fiscal year 2011. Clyburn said the $150,000 represents a prorated amount for the remainder of FY 2011.

“The Corps thinks they can spend $1.2 million on this project in 2012 if we can get the money,” Graham said. “It’s up to us to find that $1.2 million to put into the FY 2012 budget.”

Graham said that to carry the project to fruition will require much more money. He said the initial phase of planning will require $12 million to $20 million; design work will cost $75 million; and construction will cost $250 million.

The study and design work will be shared 50-50 between the state and federal governments. The construction work would be paid 60% by the state and 40% by the federal government, Graham said.

“If everything goes well, we hope to have this done in seven to eight years,” Graham said.

Graham said it’s important that South Carolina not attempt to go it alone in improving the port.

“We don’t want South Carolina’s port to be improved with only state money when other ports are getting state and federal money,” Graham said.

Clyburn said the challenge has been to overcome the impression that any request by a congressman for funding was so-called “pork barrel” funding.

“I hope that the American people will understand that not every request by a congressman amounts to pork,” Clyburn said.

Graham said the work by the delegation in Washington made administration officials see that the port improvements in Charleston had merit.

Reach James T. Hammond at 803-401-1094, ext. 201.



E-Update from Rita Allison


Added on: May 16, 2011 @ 9:00 AM

The SC House was on leave for Confederate Memorial Day on Tuesday of this week, returning to session Wednesday at 12:00 noon. This gave me an opportunity to visit with constituents and speak to a group of James F. Byrnes High School athletes Wednesday morning at 7:00 am. I was most energized as I traveled to Columbia after meeting and sharing with them. They are quality young men and women and who have a great focus in life. I commend Bobby Bentley and the entire staff for their commitment to these young athletes.
 
The Voter ID legislation has been sent to Governor Haley for her signature. It will become law upon the signature. The Governor has also urged the Senate to pass meaningful Tort Reform, which has already been passed in the SC House.
 
The SC House gave second reading to the Point of Sale legislation after extensive debate and a few amendments.
 
The SC House Ways and Means reported out the Education Opportunity Act after much debate Wednesday afternoon. Many of the committee had to leave for commitments and were not in attendance for the afternoon session. An amendment was adopted to sunset the legislation in 5 years if it did not do as it has been stated in the legislation and the cost savings was not realized. The legislation now moves to the full House for debate.
 
Look for the Amazon issue to reappear on S.36, which was amended and inserted this week in House Ways and Means.
 
The Senate gave second reading to the budget on Wednesday and it will come back to the House for us to concur or nonconcur…It's looking like we will nonconcur due to the many differences in the two versions. It will then go to a conference committee.
 
Redistricting in the House is nearing completion and congressional lines are being drawn. The Senate should begin their work on the new map soon, then the plans must be sent to the courts for approval. The SC House will recess the week of June 6th and return June 13th to finish the redistricting legislation.
 
Please know I am here to serve you any time you need me. You input and concerns are always welcome.
 
Because I care,
Rita

Rep. Rita Allison serves District 36 in Spartanburg County: Duncan, Lyman, Wellford, Holly Springs, Startex, Pelham, East Greer, Victor Mills, and other portions of Greer in Spartanburg County.



Legislative Update 05.13.11


Added on: May 16, 2011 @ 9:00 AM

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-5132011.php



Statehouse Report


Added on: May 13, 2011 @ 9:00 AM

Click the link below for more information

http://mim.io/b3f711



Senators Alexander, Graham, DeMint Introduce Job Protections Act


Added on: May 13, 2011

Alexander, Graham, DeMint Introduce Job Protection Act

Bill preserves federal law’s protection of state right-to-work laws; has 34 Senate Republican sponsors

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) today introduced the Job Protection Act (S. 964), a bill to preserve federal law’s existing protections of state right-to-work laws.

On April 20, the acting general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board moved to stop Boeing from building airplanes at a nonunion plant in South Carolina, suggesting that unionized American company cannot expand its operations into one of the 22 states with right-to-work laws, which protect a worker’s right to join or not join a union.

Alexander said: “This is not just about South Carolina and it’s not just about making airplanes – this is about jobs in every state in the country, and whether or not manufacturers are going to be able to make in the United States what they sell in the United States. I can’t think of one single action the federal government would take that would make it harder to create new jobs in Tennessee than this Boeing complaint, if it’s allowed to move forward.” 

Graham said: “The NLRB is doing the bidding of the unions at a great cost to South Carolina and our nation’s economy. I do not believe unelected bureaucracies should be allowed to go down the road the NLRB is charting. The foundation of the NLRB complaint against Boeing would destroy the American business community’s ability to negotiate and make rational business decisions. Our legislation prohibits the use of statements made during negotiations – involving legitimate business concerns – to be used as a legal basis for a violation of the National Labor Relations Act. It is time for Congress to speak out in a common-sense way against the outrageous and frivolous complaint by unelected bureaucrats at the NLRB.” 

DeMint said: “Right to work states are winning the future for America's economy, yet this administration seems intent on stamping out this model of success. Right to work states have more business growth, more new jobs, and faster rising incomes than forced-unionism states. What the NLRB has done in the Boeing case is a threat to workers and businesses in every state. The NLRB is encouraging companies to take their jobs and investment overseas. This is a reprehensible act and an obvious kickback to union bosses the President is depending on helping his reelection. Unless we pass this bill, every worker and business in this nation is under the threat that if they don't do what union bosses want, this administration will come after you. Businesses have the right to invest in any state in America and states shouldn’t be penalized for protecting the rights of their citizens not to be forced to pay union dues. Right to work states should be applauded, not attacked, as they are attracting new investment and creating new jobs precisely because their policies encourage innovation and competition.”

The bill would:

  • clarify that the NLRB would not be able to order an employer to relocate jobs from one location to another.
  • guarantee an employer the right to decide where to do business within the United States.
  • protect an employer’s free speech regarding the costs associated with having a unionized workforce without fear of such communication being used as evidence in an anti-union discrimination claim.

Contact:

Jim Jeffries (Alexander) 202-224-7154

Meghan Hughes (Graham) 202-224-5972

Wesley Denton (DeMint) 202-224-6121

# # #



SC Chamber Competitiveness Update


Added on: May 13, 2011 @ 3:00 PM

Click the link below for more information

http://www.scchamber.net/CWT/EXTERNAL/WCPAGES/DOCS/CU_5-13-2011WEB.PDF



Senate closes in on UI tax relief


Added on: May 11, 2011 @ 9:00 AM

Senate closes in on UI tax relief

Last week, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Hugh Leatherman (Florence), alongside Senator Greg Ryberg (Aiken), introduced a new plan to provide employers with unemployment insurance (UI) tax relief. With the ongoing budget battle and the Board of Economic Advisors (BEA) expected to announce a budget surplus of more than $100 million this week, Chairman Leatherman rallied support for a proposal for the state of South Carolina to share in the payback of the more than $900 million owed to the federal government.
 
The plan, dubbed “Scenario 34,” would provide $100 million in true tax relief to employers in rate classes 2-20 and help pay down the federal debt this year. All previous scenarios considered by legislative leaders helped provide short-term relief for employers by either extending the payback time or shifting taxes. Chairman Leatherman’s plan provides employers with actual tax relief. While the plan does not offer as high a percent rate cut this year as some were hoping for, the major benefit of “Scenario 34” is that the federal debt employers are expected to pay will drop from $933 million to $833 million, savings employers will continue to benefit from in future years.
 
“Scenario 34” also includes other major relief efforts that have been previously discussed, providing long-term cost savings to employers. Those measures include reducing the number of state benefit weeks from 26 weeks to 20 weeks, saving 8 percent annually. The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce has suggested reducing benefits, like other states have done during this crisis, in an effort to decrease the state’s payouts, but also to encourage unemployed workers to accept the more than 50,000 currently available jobs South Carolina. Other components of “Scenario 34” include restricting seasonal benefits and allowing employers to claim a credit to UI accounts when they offer an employee severance pay. If seasonal restrictions were implemented in South Carolina, it could result in savings of tens of millions of dollars annually.
 
Under the agreement reached unanimously by the Senate, $100 million has been adopted in the state budget. This week, the Senate will debate H.3762, legislation offered by Chairman Dan Cooper (Anderson), which includes the other cost saving components of “Scenario 34.”
 
Two weeks ago, Governor Nikki Haley took a leadership role in offering her own plan, “Scenario 27,” which would issue revenue bonds backed by employers, therefore not impacting the state’s AAA credit rating, and offer tax relief to the highest taxed employers. Both “Scenario 27” and “Scenario 34” meet the tenants of the South Carolina Chamber’s position not to borrow interest bearing money from the federal government or shift taxes between businesses. The Chamber supports both plans. 

Source: SC Chamber



Congressman Trey Gowdy Update


Added on: May 11, 2011 @ 3:00 PM


Click the link below for more information

http://gowdy.house.gov/news/email/show.aspx?ID=UHCUWAA4EKVECT37NL7EXFHJYY



SC Chamber Competitiveness Update


Added on: May 11, 2011 @ 3:00 PM

Click the link below for more information

http://www.scchamber.net/CWT/EXTERNAL/WCPAGES/DOCS/CU_5-6-2011WEB.PDF



E-Update from Rita Allison


Added on: May 11, 2011 @ 4:00 PM

The SC House had a busy week on the floor working on legislation that was still on the House Calendar. The SC Senate was in extended debate on the budget and as of Thursday had not given second reading to the budget. Since they have made numerous changes in the budget, it will more than likely end up in conference committee.
 
The House will not return till 12:00 noon on Wednesday, May 11, 2011, due to the Confederate Memorial Day on Tuesday, May 10, 2011.
 
Several ideas are still being floated for the Unemployment Insurance Relief. Governor Haley’s Administration proposal offers relief to employers in rate classes 13-20, up to 28 percent this year and 26 percent in 2010. The plan does not require additional interest-bearing borrowing, nor does it unfairly shift taxes between employers. The SC House also passed legislation that changed the pay-back years from 5 to 8 years and restricted seasonal benefits and changed the new employer rate from class 13 to class 12 to remain competitive with neighboring states.
 
Before adjournment this week the SC House passed a Sine Die Resolution which calls for the House to adjourn the first Thursday in June at 5:00pm and return on June 14th through July 1st to work on reapportionment of districts for the House, Senate and Congressional Seats. We will also address any vetoes on the budget.
 
The following is legislation that passed the SC House this week:
 
S.312   The South Carolina Federal and other Funds Oversight Act
 
H. 4145  Changing the mandatory adjournment date of the SC House from the first Thursday in June to the last Thursday in May preceding the National Memorial Daub Holiday.
 
S.431 The bill deals with insurance coverage for lawsuits alleging that property damage was caused by defective construction, and applies to all types of buildings, both public and private.
 
S 4195 Sine Die Resolution
 
H 3164 Relating to school attendance conditions associated with the issuance of conditional and special restricted driver’s licenses.
 
For the full contents of these and other pieces of legislation you can go to
www.schouse.gov and click on current legislation .
 
For input or concerns, please call or email me. I look forward to serving you and your family.


Because I care,
Rita

Rep. Rita Allison serves District 36 in Spartanburg County: Duncan, Lyman, Wellford, Holly Springs, Startex, Pelham, East Greer, Victor Mills, and other portions of Greer in Spartanburg County.



Statehouse Report


Added on: May 9, 2011 @ 9:00 AM

Click the link below for more information

http://mim.io/533311



Legislative Update 05.06.11


Added on: May 6, 2011 @ 4:00 PM

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-562011.php



Senators Propose Law to Protect SC Right to Work Status


Added on: May 5, 2011 @ 4:00 PM

Click the link below for more information

http://www.gsabusiness.com/news/39480-graham-demint-alexander-propose-law-to-protect-right-to-work-states



E-Update from Tommy Stringer


Added on: May 4, 2011 @ 9:00 AM

Hello all,

 

We have had a busy couple of weeks. I have updated my website regarding -

 

    Redistricting Status

 

    Immigration Bill

 

    SUTA Rate Reform

 

    Amazon Vote

 

Please go to www.tommystringer.com to read the articles.

I appreciate the opportunity to serve the citizens of Blue Ridge, Greer and Taylors.

 

Tommy Stringer | Post Office Box 2078 | Greer, SC 29652



Unemployment Insurance Update


Added on: May 4, 2011 @ 5:00 PM

As you know, things change with the wind in Columbia and late yesterday, we had new developments regarding the unemployment insurance issue. Here's what transpired last evening and where we currently stand: 

-   The S.C. Board of Economic Advisors (BEA) is expected to announce next week (5/12) that the state will have a revenue surplus of over $100 million.  

-   Senator Leatherman (Senate Finance Chairman, Florence County) proposed to use $100 million of the surplus for UI relief instead of taking out revenue bonds (which was included in Governor Haley's "Scenario 27 modified proposal)."

-   After floor debate and private discussions, late yesterday, the Senate adopted a proviso into the budget that will potentially provide $100 million worth of unemployment insurance relief to employers. 

-   This proviso will be part of and contingent upon a package deal that will be debated as early as next week.    

The rate reduction hinges on lawmakers passing a separate bill (most likely amending H.3762 w/ language from S.478) that would reduce the length of time the jobless can claim state unemployment benefits to 20 weeks from 26 weeks (as a result, the federal benefits will begin at 20 weeks and are proportionally reduced to 73 weeks total). There are also several technical changes that will be included in the bill including seasonal pay restrictions.

*Bottom line - all employers in tiers 2-20 will see a reduction of approximately 18% for 2011. Details are still being worked out but if employers have already made a SUTA payment for the 1st quarter, they would most likely receive a credit for that payment. If the employer still has a surplus at the end of the year, they would most likely receive a refund check.

-   Senator Leatherman has said that it is imperative for the bill that will come up next week in the Senate to pass both Chambers in order for employers to see the 18% relief. If the bill does not pass before the end of the session, the $100 million will most likely go to pay down the federal loan balance leaving employers with little to no relief this year.  

-   Governor's plan - "Scenario 27 modified"

The Governor still feels that her plan is a sound solution that would provide relief. It did have traction and gained the support of many legislators and business organizations from across the state. However, after the B.E.A. estimates, Senator Leatherman's plan has the most momentum right now. We went ahead and sent our support letter to Governor Haley's office. There are several things that have to happen for the new plan to work, and we have been told Governor Haley will push her plan if this one does not materialize. We will continue to keep you posted. Please let us know if you have any questions or need additional information.    



E-Update from Rita Allison


Added on: May 2, 2011

The SC House returned to session this week after furloughing last week to save the state $50,000. This was a very busy week  known as the “cross-over” week. Only legislation that passed the SC House on Thursday and received 3rd reading on Friday will be in the SC Senate in time for them to pass this year. However, with this being the first year of a two year session, any legislation that did not make it will be there for debate in January of 2012.
 
H 3407 is the Education Opportunity Act which has been reported out of the House Ways and Means Sub-Committee, but has not made it through the Full Ways and Means Committee. The Senate did not report the bill out, therefore, it more than likely will not be debated until next year.
 
The following pieces of legislation have passed the SC House and are waiting for Senate approval:
 
Angel Investment Act H.3779
Charter Schools H. 3241
Department of Administration   H.3066
Government Restructuring: Governor/Lt. Governor   H.3152
Government Restructuring: Superintendent of Education    H.3070
Spending Limits: H.3368
Tort Reform: H.3375
 
The sales tax safe harbor for Amazon did not pass the SC House or SC Senate this week, although attempts were made in both bodies. Bobby Hitt, Secretary of Commerce, said a deal was made in good faith and we should move forward with it. The Governor said it was not good business, but she would not veto it if the legislature passed it.
 
Federal lawmakers failed to include dollars for a study on deepening the Charleston Harbor in the appropriations bill.
 
The SC Budget is waiting for third readying by the Senate next week. It will then return to the SC House for approval…if the House does not concur with any changes, a conference committee will be appointed to work out these differences.
 
For further information on legislation passed by the House and Senate, go to www.schouse.govand click on the appropriate link.
 
We welcomed to the SC House this week, Desiree Puglia, Miss SC and Caroline Blanton, Miss SC Teen, along with 44 young ladies who will vie for the crown of Miss SC,  July 2nd in Columbia at the Township Auditorium. We also recognized the Miss SC Teen Contestants for this year.
 
We also welcomed the “Teacher’s of the Year” from each district in SC, along with this years, State Teacher of the Year.
 
Julie McMakin and Rick Eitel also visited with us on Wednesday to discuss education. They serve on the District Five Spartanburg County School  District.
 
It is a real honor to serve you. YOU are why I serve! Please email or call me with input or concerns.

Email: rnrallison@charter.net
Phone: 864-909-1092

Rep. Rita Allison serves District 36 in Spartanburg County: Duncan, Lyman, Wellford, Holly Springs, Startex, Pelham, East Greer, Victor Mills, and other portions of Greer in Spartanburg County.



SC Unemployment Tax Payment Plan Announced


Added on: April 29, 2011 @ 9:00 AM

Unemployment tax payment plan available

The S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW) is offering businesses an option to take part in a payment plan of up to six months to settle their unemployment insurance taxes due for the first quarter of 2011.

This move was made after the unemployment insurance tax rates were restructured by the General Assembly that resulted in increased rates for some businesses.

The deadline to file quarterly reports and pay bills is Saturday, but because that date falls on a weekend day, DEW will accept payment and reports on Monday.

To sign up for the payment plan, employers need to file their quarterly reports, send in at least 10% of what they owe and include a letter indicating their interest in the payment plan.

A DEW representative will coordinate with the business to determine the best payment arrangement based on how much the employer owes and what is best for the business.

Note that current law requires a 1% interest charge per month on outstanding balances be applied for businesses who take part in the plan.

Businesses should notify the DEW of their request to take part in a payment plan by sending a letter to:

S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce
Attention: Delinquent Accounts
1550 Gadsden Street
PO Box 995
Columbia, SC 29202
 


Information provided for members of the Spartanburg Development Association
SDA | 1004 South Pine Street, Spartanburg, SC | Phone: 864/585-1007



SC Chamber Competitiveness Update


Added on: April 29, 2011 @ 1:00 PM

Click the link below for more information

http://southcarolinasccoc.weblinkconnect.com/CWT/EXTERNAL/WCPAGES/DOCS/CU_4-29-2011WEB.PDF



Governor Takes Lead on UI Relief


Added on: April 29, 2011 @ 12:00 PM

Governor Takes Lead on UI Relief

This week, Governor Nikki Haley’s Administration announced its plan for providing Unemployment Insurance (UI) tax relief for employers across South Carolina, in what is now known as “Scenario 27.” The governor’s plan has three key components. 

First, “Scenario 27” would cut the number of state benefit weeks from 26 to 20 weeks. The measure would provide all employers with 8 percent relief. In addition, with unemployed workers now able to collect up to 99 weeks of benefits, the plan would reduce the total number of weeks to 76. The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce believes the effort will encourage workers to reenter the workforce and begin filling the more than 50,000 jobs currently available across the state. More and more states are moving in this direction, with Michigan and Missouri also reducing the number of benefit weeks their states offer.

Second, “Scenario 27” would allow employers the option of whether or not their seasonal employees could collect unemployment benefits. Seasonal restrictions would allow for an additional 3 percent relief for all employers. Numerous states already restrict the collection of seasonal benefits.

Third, the plan would bond a portion of the federal loan repayment for rate classes 13-20 in 2011 and 2012, issuing revenue bonds and allowing those employers eight years to pay back the bonds. This would provide 17 percent relief this year to those higher taxed employers. Numerous bond attorneys have said the state can issue revenue bonds for this purpose. Legislative leaders are diligently working to ensure this plan would not impact the state’s AAA credit rating. Other states, such as Texas, have already enacted this option, while Georgia is in the process of bonding its entire federal obligation.

The South Carolina Chamber supports the Haley Administration’s proposal that offers meaningful relief to employers in rate classes 13-20, up to 28 percent this year and 26 percent in 2012. Governor Haley’s plan does not require additional interest-bearing borrowing, nor does it unfairly shift taxes between employers.

This week, the House unanimously passed H.3762, sponsored by House Ways and Means Chairman Dan Cooper (Anderson). The legislation would restrict seasonal benefits and change the new employer rate from class 13 to class 12 to remain competitive with neighboring states concerning job recruitment efforts. The bill also corrects what is dubbed “the anomaly,” allowing approximately 2,700 businesses that had positive cash balances during the last seven years to move from rate classes 13-20 to rate class 12 for this year only.

In the Senate, S.478, legislation addressing a number of changes to UI tax rates, is currently on the contested calendar. With a limited number of weeks remaining in the legislative session and the Senate still faced with finalizing the budget, redistricting and tort reform, any UI proposal must have broad consensus.



Unemployment Insurance Update


Added on: April 29, 2011 @ 4:00 PM

Scenario 27

As a summary, Scenario 27 does three things:

1)It would cut the number of state benefit weeks from 26 to 20 weeks. The measure would provide all employers in tiers 2-20 with 8 percent relief.

2)It would allow employers the option of whether or not their seasonal employees could collect unemployment benefits. Seasonal restrictions would allow for an additional 3 percent relief for all employers in tiers 2-20.

3)It would bond a portion of the federal loan repayment for rate classes 13-20 in 2011 and 2012, issuing revenue bonds and allowing those employers eight years to pay back the bonds. This would provide 17 percent relief this year to those higher taxed employers. Numerous bond attorneys have said the state can issue revenue bonds for this purpose and efforts are being made to ensure that this plan would not impact the state's AAA credit rating.

Relief: Employers in tiers 13-20 would see a 28 percent reduction in their SUTA taxes in 2011 and a 26 percent reduction next year.

*Also, please keep in mind that this scenario would follow the parameters that 10 out of our 12 Upstate Chambers asked for in our Coalition letter a few weeks ago.  This proposal does not require additional interest-bearing borrowing from the federal government and it does not shift taxes between employers.

H.3762

This past Wednesday, the House unanimously passed H.3762, sponsored by House Ways and Means Chairman Dan Cooper (Anderson).  This bill does three things:

1)Provides the Senate w/ a vehicle to attach a tax relief amendment.  In regards to relief, this is a skeletal bill that was passed by the House before the May 1st cross over deadline. 

2)It would restrict seasonal benefits and change the new employer rate from class 13 to class 12 to remain competitive with neighboring states concerning job recruitment efforts.

3)It corrects what is known as "the anomaly," allowing approximately 2,700 businesses that had positive cash balances during the last seven years to move from rate classes 13-20 to rate class 12 for this year only.  If this is enacted, all companies in tiers 1-12 had a positive balance the past seven years and all companies in tiers 13-20 had a negative cash balance. 

In Summary

The Governor's proposal, Scenario 27, gained traction this week as the details became available.  Right now, this scenario appears to be the "best" chance at UI tax relief becoming a reality this legislative session.  Timing continues to be an issue as there are only 5 weeks remaining. We will keep you posted as things continue to develop.  Please let us know if you have any questions or need additional information.     

Elizabeth Edwards
Government Relations Manager
Upstate Chamber Coalition
Greenville Chamber of Commerce
864.239.3748 (direct)
864.631.6596 (mobile)
864.282.8509 (fax)
eedwards@greenvillechamber.org
www.upstatechamber.org
www.greenvillechamber.org 


Click the link below to download the document

Scenario27modified.pdf


Legislative Update 04.29.11


Added on: April 29, 2011 @ 4:00 PM

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-4292011.php



SC Chamber Competitiveness Update


Added on: April 22, 2011 @ 10:00 AM

Click the link below for more information

http://southcarolinasccoc.weblinkconnect.com/CWT/EXTERNAL/WCPAGES/DOCS/CU_4-21-2011WEB.PDF



Legislative Update 04.22.11


Added on: April 22, 2011 @ 4:00 PM

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-4222011.php



USC, GHS Boards Approve Operating Accord


Added on: April 20, 2011 @ 10:00 AM

Click the link below for more information

http://www.gsabusiness.com/news/39199-usc-ghs-boards-approve-operating-accord



Amazon bill clears first hurdle


Added on: April 20, 2011 @ 6:00 PM

Amazon bill clears first hurdle; Senate is debating it now

 

Amazon proposal clears first hurdle

By TIM FLACH
 tflach@thestate.com

How they voted

Here is how members of the Senate Finance Committee lined up Tuesday on a proposal to give Amazon a sales tax collection exemption:

FOR

Thomas Alexander, R-Oconee; Ralph Anderson, D-Greenville; John Courson, R-Richland; Ronnie Cromer, R-Newberry; Dick Elliott, D-Horry; Mike Fair, R-Greenville; Wes Hayes, R-York; Darrell Jackson, D-Richland; John Land, D-Clarendon; Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence; Phil Leventis, D-Sumter; John Matthews, D-Orangeburg; Yancey McGill, D-Williamsburg; Harvey Peeler, R-Cherokee; Nikki Setzler, D-Lexington

AGAINST

Kevin Bryant, R-Anderson; William O’Dell, R-Abbeville; Glenn Reese, D-Spartanburg; Greg Ryberg, R-Aiken; Danny Verdin, R-Laurens

ABSENT

Larry Grooms, R-Berkeley; Clementa Pinckney, D-Jasper; David Thomas, R-Greenville

Online retailer Amazon won its first legislative skirmish Tuesday as the Senate Finance Committee approved a five-year sales tax collection exemption that is part of the price the company wants to bring 1,249 jobs to the Midlands.

Some allies predict the exemption faces a bumpy path to approval in the General Assembly, a forecast that came after the panel endorsed it 15-5.

“It’s a big first step forward,” said Randy Halfacre, Lexington mayor and president of the Greater Lexington Chamber of Commerce. “There’s a lot further to go, but we’ve got someone on first base and that improves your chance to score.”

The proposal would allow Amazon to operate without collecting state and local sales taxes for five years on merchandise it sells to S.C. residents from the 1 million-square-foot center being built near Cayce, scheduled to open this fall.

Amazon spokeswoman Mary Osako expressed appreciation for the panel’s endorsement, adding the company “looks forward to working with the full Senate and House to complete work on the legislation.”

The exemption is opposed by other merchants as giving a competitive edge to Amazon in commerce where pennies count. Buyers, they say, perceive untaxed goods as cheaper.

A group representing Midlands store owners and major chains with outlets in the area promised to keep fighting the proposal.

“We are disappointed with today’s decision, but we believe the Legislature will recognize that this sales tax exemption is unfair,” said Brian Flynn, executive director of the S.C. Alliance for Main Street Fairness. “All online or brick-and-mortar retailers operating in South Carolina should play by the same rules.”

Reinforcements are coming from Tea Party adherents and the South Carolina Policy Council, groups that question any state incentives for new development. Those groups plan to outline their objections today, after not being allowed to outline them to the committee.

The Senate panel endorsed the exemption after state Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt said the plan is a “good deal” that will bring in more than it costs.

Supporters estimate state and local coffers will net $11 million annually from payroll and property taxes, after a sales tax break estimated at $2.6 million.

But Sen. Danny Verdin, R-Laurens, said the exemption for Amazon takes development incentives “into another realm” that will be troublesome.

“I’m not comfortable the good outweighs the bad,” he said.

Some senators said coming up with a way to collect taxes owed by Amazon customers will be a challenge.

The growing popularity of online shopping “is a game changer,” said Sen. Darrell Jackson, D-Richland.

Others warned that more than the jobs promised by Amazon are at stake.

Rejection of what Amazon sees as an incentive promised to bring its center here would leave “a horrible black eye” on state industrial recruitment, said Sen. John Courson, R-Richland.

The showdown in the panel came after both sides in the conflict bombarded lawmakers during the past 10 days with ad campaigns uncommon for proposals before the Legislature.

The exemption would be on top of a free site, local property tax breaks on equipment and state job creation tax credits. In addition. Lexington County ended long-time restrictions on Sunday morning sales to facilitate Amazon’s round-the-clock operation.

The next challenge for Amazon allies is winning agreement from Senate leaders to put the measure on a fast track to sidestep a series of procedural obstacles that opponents can use to impede progress before the Legislature ends work June 2.

“There’s no question its path is going to be long and difficult,” said Sen. Nikki Setzler, D-Lexington. “We’ve got a lot of work yet.”

Reach Flach at (803) 771-8483.



Legislative Update 04.15.11


Added on: April 18, 2011 @ 9:00 AM

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-4152011.php



SC Chamber Competitiveness Update


Added on: April 18, 2011 @ 10:00 AM

Click the link below for more information

http://southcarolinasccoc.weblinkconnect.com/CWT/EXTERNAL/WCPAGES/DOCS/CU_4-15-2011WEB.PDF



Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce Announces Support of Proposed University of South Carolina School of Medicine - Greenville


Added on: April 18, 2011 @ 10:00 AM

Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce Announces Support of Proposed University of South Carolina School of Medicine - Greenville 

(GREER, SC) The Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce has passed a resolution in support of the proposed expansion by the University of South Carolina School of Medicine in Greenville.  

The USC School of Medicine-Greenville would be an expansion of the existing medical education program on the Greenville Hospital System (GHS) Memorial campus, which began in 1991.  At that time, a 2-year regional campus of USC School of Medicine was established.  The current expansion calls for the conversion of the 2-year campus to 4-year campus, where students will be admitted to USC School of Medicine-Greenville and complete all four years of medical school in Greenville.  

Currently, the State of South Carolina is below the national average for number of physicians per 100,000 population and 20% of the state’s physicians are expected to retire within the next decade 

"We are proud to stand with the Greenville Hospital System in support of the University of South Carolina School of Medicine – Greenville,” said Allen Smith, President/CEO of the Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce.  “If this project comes to fruition, the local economy could experience a $1 billion impact over a ten year period.  This is a win-win in terms of economic development and quality of life improvement." 

 For more information, contact the Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce office at (864) 877-3131.

The Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce is a voluntary, non-profit organization that represents approximately 600 businesses in the Greer area. The mission of the Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce is “To Champion Economic Prosperity for our members and the greater Greer community.”  For more information on the Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce, call 864-877-3131 or visit www.greerchamber.com.



Statehouse Report


Added on: April 15, 2011 @ 10:00 AM

Click the link below for more information

http://mim.io/1c7401



House Passes Angel Investors Legislation


Added on: April 15, 2011 @ 10:00 AM

Bill Wylie Entrepreneurship Act Supports Small Businesses

Strengthens economic climate, encourages growth & innovation

(Columbia, SC) - Today, by a vote of 78 to 18, the SC House of Representatives passed a significant piece of economic development legislation designed to spark new business growth and private sector innovation in our state.  The Bill Wylie Entrepreneurship Act (H. 3779) creates a positive business environment that will better enable “Angel Investors” in our state to reinvest resources back into South Carolina to help spur the growth and expansion of small businesses. 

House Speaker Bobby Harrell issued the following statement about the House’s adoption of the Bill Wylie Entrepreneurship Act:

“This bill directly addresses the most important issue facing our state for the next two decades - Jobs.

“Thriving small businesses and entrepreneurs will play a critical role in our state’s economic recovery.  The Bill Wylie Entrepreneurship Act will give private sector businesses better access to the capital they need to get off the ground, expand and create jobs. 

“This bill gives South Carolinians an opportunity and incentive to invest in our state’s economy.  Adding to our state’s strong pro-business reputation, this measure will make South Carolina a more attractive destination for the type of innovative private sector investment our economy needs to grow and prosper.  

“This bill was the brainchild of former Greenville Representative Bill Wylie.  A dear friend to all of his colleagues in the House, Rep. Wylie unfortunately passed away in September of 2010.  Devoted to improving our state’s economy, Bill had been working on this piece of legislation during last year’s off-session and had planned to introduce it this year.  While Bill is no longer with us, it is only fitting that the legislation he worked so hard to create lives on with this important economic development measure adopted by the House today.”



SUTA Update


Added on: April 15, 2011 @ 10:15 AM

SUTA Update

House
The House Ad Hoc subcommittee met yesterday regarding UI (this cmte was put together by Chairman Cooper to look at the UI issue).  There was discussion about scenario 23 (see attachment) which would postpone paying the federal loan back for 2 years and provide approximately 30% relief to the tiers 13-20.  While the majority of the subcommittee members appeared to support scenario 23, the subcommittee decided to come back in two weeks (after furlough week) to continue discussion.  The SC Chamber and NFIB both came out a couple of weeks ago opposing scenario 23, so they both testified against it.

Once the Ad Hoc subcommittee makes a recommendation, the skeletal bill that Chairman Cooper introduced could come up on the House floor. Then, that recommended scenario or proposal can be offered as an amendment. There is currently a hold on the House calendar for that bill.

Senate
We have heard that scenario 23 may not sit well (especially without serious objection) in the Senate. Senators are also working on an amendment to their bill (S.478) that, in June 2012, would reduce unemployment benefits by 20-30% and that savings to the state would then go to provide relief to the higher tiers. S.478 has not come up on the Senate floor yet.



Unemployment Insurance Update


Added on: April 13, 2011 @ 9:00 AM

Unemployment Insurance (UI) Reform Update 

This week, a House and a Senate Committee both discussed UI reform. While both the House and Senate committees approved legislation, neither bill includes a single amendment that would provide relief to rate classes 1-13.  Now, it is apparent that any reform to the UI system that would provide relief to rate classes 13-20 will have to take place during debate on the House and Senate floor.  It is important to keep in mind that the Senate still has to take up the budget, has another week-long furlough is approaching and the redistrcting process for both Chambers is just getting underway. Timing is becoming an issue.  

We will continue to keep you posted as things continue to develop. Here's a brief recap of what transpired this week in committee:

House Ways and Means Committee

On Tuesday, the Ways and Means Committee took up H. 3762, a bill introduced by Chairman Dan Cooper (Anderson).  Currently, H. 3762 is  a skeletal bill that simply extends the payback period for the federal loan to the maximum amount of time allowed.  One major concern that SCDEW officials have with this proposal is that S.C. would have to pay additional interest on the loan and by delaying the loan payback, S.C. will also not be replenishing the UI trust fund during that extension.

The full committee voted the bill out of committee with the understanding that amendments will be offered on the House floor during debate.  Also, the ad hoc subcommitte that was working on the House bill will continue to meet (possibly next week) to hear testimony from employers and discuss exisiting scenarios and any new  proposals. 

Rep. Mike Anthony (Union) introduced two amendments  during the committee meeting but quickly withdrew them once it was decided that the committee will offer amendments during debate on the House floor.  Rep. Anthony's first amendment was to cap new staffing agencies coming into the state at rate class 12. His second amendment was to charge all employees in S.C. $10 per month out of their paychecks to pay back the federal loan.  

Senate Labor, Commerce, and Industry (LCI) Committee

Today, the Senate LCI committee took up S. 478, a bill introduced by Chairman Greg Ryberg (Aiken).  Among the amendments adopted to S. 478 this morning were:

- The "anomoly" - 2500+ companies had a positive UI balance balance, meaning during the past 7 years they had paid more into the UI sysytem than unemployment benefit charges filed against them.  Under this amendment, these companies will be placed in rate class 12.  By doing this, all companies  in rate classes 1-12 will have a positive balance history and all companies in rate class 13-20 will have a negative balance history.  

- Call back provision - temporary workers will continue to call in each week to their temporary staff employers to see if any jobs have become availible.  

- Seasonal workers - employees who are employed by a seasonal employer will only be eligible for unemployment benefits  if they lose their job during that particular season. Once the season ends, the employee cannot file for unemployment benefits against the seasonal employer. 

- New Companies - placing new companies relocating to S.C. in rate class 12.  They would be there for one year and could quickly move to a lower rate class depending on year one experience.

Other interesting Notes

*The S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW) announced that a payback plan is in place for companies who need additional time to make their payment. Companies must pay 10% of their SUTA bill by the end of April and request to be put on a payment plan with a letter. The company will then make monthly payments for no more than 6 months, which will include 1% interest.  For more information, interested companies should contact SCDEW. 

*According to Senate LCI Committee Chairman Greg Ryberg (Aiken), 74% of S.C. companies are in rate classes 1-12.  Companies in rate classes 1-12 account for 60% of employees in S.C.  Also, looking at a 7 year experience under the current UI system, rate classes 1-12 have a positive balance of $350 million while rate classes 13-20 have a negative balance of $1 billion.  

*SCDEW has now examined, at the request of legislators, 26 different scenarios or proposals to reform the UI system. 

*Senator Kevin Bryant (Anderson) told the Senate LCI Committee that because S.C. took out the federal loan, we cannot reduce unemployment benefits until June 12, 2012. However, he said that he plans to offer an amendment on the Senate floor to S.478 that (effective post June 12, 2012), state unemployment benefits would be reduced by 20% (the maximum payout is currently $326/week). There may also be an amendment offered to S. 478 on the Senate floor to reduce the number of weeks that we pay out state unemployment benefits (the state currently pays a maximum of 26 weeks).



SC Chamber Competitiveness Update


Added on: April 11, 2011 @ 10:00 AM

Click the link below for more information

http://southcarolinasccoc.weblinkconnect.com/CWT/EXTERNAL/WCPAGES/DOCS/CU_4-8-2011WEB.PDF



Legislative Update 04.11.11


Added on: April 11, 2011 @ 11:00 AM

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-482011.php



A Statehouse Report


Added on: April 8, 2011 @ 11:00 AM

Click the link below for more information

http://mim.io/d09ff



Lawmakers Ask to Use Port Taxes for Harbor Dredging


Added on: April 6, 2011 @ 10:00 AM

Click the link below for more information

http://www.charlestonbusiness.com/news/39035-lawmakers-ask-to-use-port-taxes-for-harbor-dredging



Legislative Update 04.04.11


Added on: April 4, 2011 @ 9:00 AM

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-412011.php



SC Chamber Competitiveness Update


Added on: April 4, 2011 @ 9:00 AM

Click the link below for more information

http://southcarolinasccoc.weblinkconnect.com/CWT/EXTERNAL/WCPAGES/DOCS/CU_4-1-2011WEB.PDF



U.S. Chamber Honors 239 Pro-Business Members of Congress


Added on: April 4, 2011 @ 9:00 AM

Lawmakers Recognized for Supporting Economic Growth and Job Creation


WASHINGTON, D.C.—On Capitol Hill today, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce honored 239 Members of Congress with the annual Spirit of Enterprise Award for supporting pro-business policies during the second session of the 111th Congress.

“These hard working men and women on Capitol Hill give American businesses good reason to feel optimistic,” said Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber.  “Today we salute Members who have consistently demonstrated their staunch support for pro-growth policies that will allow businesses to begin to hire again.”

The Chamber’s prestigious Spirit of Enterprise award, in its 23nd year, has been given annually to Members of Congress based on key business votes outlined in the Chamber’s yearly publication, How They Voted.  Those Members of Congress who support the Chamber’s position on at least 70% of those votes qualify to receive the award.

The Chamber scored Congress on 11 Senate and 9 House votes in 2010, including passage of a tax rate extension, health care reform, financial services reform, and legislation to promote science and math education. 

To view a complete list of the 2010 Spirit of Enterprise recipients, please visit www.uschamber.com/soe.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.



A Statehouse Report


Added on: April 1, 2011 @ 9:00 AM

Click the link below for more information

http://mim.io/74e6f



Legislative Update 03.25.11


Added on: March 25, 2011 @ 1:00 PM

Click the link below for more information

http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-3252011.php



Unemployment Insurance Update


Added on: March 16, 2011

Because no action was taken regarding the unemployment issue this week in the General Assembly, we thought we'd give you a quick update regarding the issue.  As we explain below, the House was busy taking up the budget and the Senate LCI Committee did not meet this week. 

On a seperate but related issue, a Senate LCI subcommittee, chaired by Senator Kevin Bryant (Anderson), met this week to debate S.532, a bill sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler (Cherokee).

S.532 would temporarily suspend unemployment benefits to claimants failing a drug test. The subcommittee voted unanimously to amend the legislation by permanently disqualifying claimants from receiving benefits until they are re-employed and accumulate enough wage credits to become eligible. Other Upstate Senators serving on the subcommittee are Senators Lee Bright (Spartanburg) and Glenn Reese (Spartanburg).

UI Update 

As you may know, the House and Senate have both been looking at various proposals that could provide relief to rate classes 13-20. If change to the law is to occur, most legislators want to hold rate classes 1-12 harmless. The proposal or scenario that has gained the most momentum thus far is known in Columbia as "Scenario 15." It is explained in the attached document but the end result of Scenario 15 would provide roughly 18-20% relief to the highest rate classes while leaving rate classes 1-12 harmless.  

The problem w/ Scenario 15 is that, if implemented, in 2016 S.C. would have $0 in the unemployment trust fund.  Under the current law and rate class structure, S.C. would have $200 million in the trust fund.  Officials at the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce have expressed concern that, historically, recessions occur every 7-8 years.  If we do not have $ put back in the trust fund by 2016-2017, we could potentially be at the cusp of another impending recession and be in situation where we'd be forced to borrow $ again from the federal government to pay out unemployment benefits. 

One idea that is floating out there to rectify that potential problem is to charge all employees in S.C. $1 per week and that $ go to the state not to payback the loan but to pay out unemployment benefits or to go directly to the trust fund. I've heard estimates that such a charge could generate approximately $78 million per year.       

Another idea that is still floating out there is to reduce our unemployment benefits that we pay out by a certain percentage and apply that money towards debt relief or replenishing the UI trust fund. The problem with that idea is that, because of the federal loan, we cannot even begin the process of reducing benefits until 2012.

Below is where we currently stand in the General Assembly in terms of potential legislative action:

 

House

Last week, an Ad Hoc Subcommittee of the House Ways & Means Committee passed H. 3762, a bill introduced by Chairman Dan Cooper (Anderson) that would simply extend the federal loan payback to the maximum number of years we have to pay it back.  The Subcommittee passed the bill with the understanding that amendments will definitely be added either in full committee or on the House floor.  Potential amendments include Scenario 15 (see attached document).  The bill will almost certainly change significantly as this was introduced primarily as a skeletal bill aimed to get something moving on the House Side.

The major problem that the House bill faces is timing.  This week, the House debated and passed the budget. Next week, the House will be on furlough for the entire week.  So, it will be Tuesday, March 29th at the earliest before the full Ways & Means Committee will meet again.        

Senate

The Subcommittee of the Senate Labor Commerce and Industry Committee (LCI) recently adopted an amendment to S. 478 that would apply Scenario 15.

Also being discussed is a change to what rate class a new company locating in S.C will be placed.    Under current law, they will be placed in rate class 13 for the first year. There is a debate on whether new companies should be capped at rate class 12 or placed in a rate class based on their industry's average. 

The full Senate LCI Committee did not meet this week but could meet next week.  However, the committee calendar for next week has not been released yet.    We will continue to keep you posted as things develop.  Thanks and please let us know if you have any questions.


Click the link below to download the document

Scenario_15.pdf


State House Passes Budget


Added on: March 16, 2011

Click the link below for more information

http://www.goupstate.com/article/20110316/ARTICLES/103161009/1083/ARTICLES&tc=email_newsletter?tc=ar



DeMint Introduces Army Corps of Engineers Reform Bill


Added on: March 15, 2011

Click the link below for more information

http://demint.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=5e31aa9e-2e40-4b11-9095-6ffee7c1e2a0