Information on the Issues

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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

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

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


More Information >> http://www.tommystringer.com/



Haley signs tort reform law, creating punitive damages cap


Added on: July 28, 2011

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

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

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. 


More Information >> stwui1.pdf


SC Chamber of Commerce Weekly Update


Added on: July 13, 2011

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



Unemployment tax rate decreases


Added on: July 7, 2011

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



E-Update from Representative Rita Allison


Added on: June 27, 2011

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

More Information >> http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/887415/b27b9a6f68/1582573257/b11a023f57/



Update from Representative Tommy Stringer


Added on: June 21, 2011

More Information >> http://www.tommystringer.com/



Haley signs unemployment tax relief bill


Added on: June 16, 2011

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



E-Update from Rita Allison


Added on: June 8, 2011

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



Chamber Biz: South Carolina Chamber Update


Added on: June 8, 2011

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

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

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

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



Legislative Update 6.3.11


Added on: June 6, 2011

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



Statehouse Report


Added on: June 2, 2011

More Information >> http://mim.io/23ac21



Governor Expected to Allow Amazon Exemption to Become Law


Added on: June 2, 2011

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

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

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

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



SC Chamber Competitiveness Update


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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Statehouse Report


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

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

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


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



SC Chamber Competitiveness Update


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

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

More Information >> http://mim.io/533311



Legislative Update 05.06.11


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

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

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.

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

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 


More Information >> Scenario27modified.pdf


Legislative Update 04.29.11


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

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



SC Chamber Competitiveness Update


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

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

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



USC, GHS Boards Approve Operating Accord


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

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

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



SC Chamber Competitiveness Update


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

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

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

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

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



A Statehouse Report


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

More Information >> http://mim.io/d09ff



Lawmakers Ask to Use Port Taxes for Harbor Dredging


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

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

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



SC Chamber Competitiveness Update


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

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

More Information >> http://mim.io/74e6f



Legislative Update 03.25.11


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

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.


More Information >> Scenario_15.pdf


State House Passes Budget


Added on: March 16, 2011

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

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



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