What’s in the Senate budget?

Last week, the Senate amended and passed the state appropriations bill, which spends $29.8 billion. This includes a surplus of $344 million ($16 million more than the House budget allocated). Many of the House and Senate spending priorities are the same – such as a 2% pay raise for state employees, a 4% pay raise […]

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Crossover update: what passed and what didn’t

Wednesday, April 10 was the crossover deadline, which means that bills that failed to cross to the other chamber by this date will need a two-thirds majority to be taken up in the opposite house. This makes them unlikely to become law this year. Here is a status update of important bills we have been […]

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A new state retirement plan – for private employees?

A bill filed last month (H.4258) would create a state retirement plan for private employees. The 401(K) style plan, called the “Palmetto Work and Save Plan”, would be available for employees of private businesses, non-profits, and even those who are self-employed. However, individuals who work for private businesses would be automatically enrolled unless they opted […]

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Bill would create another legislative guarantee for utility debt

A bill currently in a Senate subcommittee would guarantee a refinancing of SCANA’s debt by authorizing a new ratepayer charge. Under S.110, the Public Service Commission (PSC – the utility regulatory body accountable to lawmakers) could authorize SCANA to refinance its remaining debt from the failed nuclear project, or to refinance utility costs from natural […]

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State budget 2019: Highlights from the House spending plan

House lawmakers have adopted the largest spending plan in state history. Here’s what you need to know about it.   What they’re spending The House budget is a grand total of $29.8 billion – a spending increase of $1.1 billion (or around 3.8%) over last year. This includes a surplus of $328 million. The state […]

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Higher education “reform”: more spending, less accountability

S.298 would allow unaccountable university spending, borrowing and construction, would greatly increase state spending on higher education, and would limit future tuition increases. Despite the unaffordability of higher education in South Carolina (student loan debt is among the nation’s highest, and tuition has increased 93 percent from 2008 to 2017), the bill does not cut […]

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Selling Santee Cooper: First Things First

Click to print PDF version Two committees comprised almost entirely of lawmakers are currently exploring the possibility of selling state-owned utility Santee Cooper. Not only is this beyond the proper jurisdiction of legislators – whose job is simply to establish laws – but their approach is leaving citizens in the dark. Santee Cooper is the […]

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A bond bill for “freight transportation”

A newly filed bill (S.679) would allow economic development bonds to be issued for freight projects, which could be exempted from job creation requirements. Economic development bonds are a category of general obligation debt, which is backed by the taxpayers’ personal property, and they can be issued for anything from land acquisition to employee training. […]

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What lawmakers want to give the Carolina Panthers

Last week, lawmakers introduced legislation in both the House (H.4243) and the Senate (S.655) to extend tax favors to the Carolina Panthers NFL team in an attempt to lure them to relocate their practice facility and headquarters (not their stadium) to South Carolina. Both bills are being fast-tracked through committee this week. The identical bills […]

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Eminent domain for environmental projects?

A SENATE BILL WOULD FUND THE TAKING OF PRIVATE PROPERTY TO CREATE FLOODPLAINS AND OPEN SPACES Update: the bill was amended in committee in four significant ways; Language was added to prevent the fund from being used to directly finance eminent domain takings. To use eminent domain, local governments would simply need to seize the […]

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