TOP FIVE: S.C.’s large piece of the federal pie, more

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By Lindsay Street, Statehouse correspondent  |  Our weekly Top Five feature offers big stories or views from the past week or so with policy and legislative implications that you need to read because of how they could impact South Carolina.  If you have stories to suggest to our readers, send to:

  1. South Carolina gets more than it gives to federal government, Rockefeller Institute of Government, Sept. 28, 2017.

For every dollar South Carolina sends the federal government, the state receives $1.71 in return, this study shows. In 2015, every man, woman and child in South Carolina sent an average of $6,665 to the federal government.  That was among the lowest per capita federal outlay  rates in the country.  But the state received $11,366 per capita from the federal government, making South Carolina rank as having the 10th highest balance of payments (more money in than out) in the nation.  Bottom line:  We get way more than we pay into the federal government.  More:

“As a national conversation on federal tax policy is underway, taxpayers deserve to know how much their state generates for the U.S. Treasury, and how much comes back in the form of federal spending.”

  1. U.S. Supreme Court starts case that could impact redistricting, National Conference of State Legislatures, Oct. 2, 2017.

Could the 2010 redistricting of congressional districts be so partisan that it violates the U.S. Constitution? That’s the argument being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court this week as Gill v. Whitford begins. A 2006 precedent, however, allowed partisan redistricting to stand. An excerpt from this report:

“Texas’ legislature redrew its maps mid-decade in the 2000 cycle, after the GOP gained control of the House (it already held the Senate and  governorship). Democrats challenged the new maps, saying the maps were drawn for partisan gain and violated a host of districting principles.  In the end, the maps were allowed to stand. One reason: ‘We conclude that appellants have established no legally impermissible use of political classifications.’”

  1. Distressed communities miss economic recovery, Economic Innovation Group, Sept. 25, 2017.

The new Distressed Community Index shows economic prosperity or distress based on zip code. One of the key findings was the there is a five-year difference in life expectancy between areas experiencing prosperity and areas experience distress. The Post and Courier reported from the study saying that while South Carolina has pulled out of the Great Recession, many of its zip codes especially in rural areas and along the state’s infamous Corridor of Shame  still remain distressed. An excerpt from the study:

“Distressed communities are disconnected communities, and the findings that follow reveal the troubling extent to which the fates of their 52 million inhabitants are diverging from the rest of the country. These are places increasingly alienated from the benefits of the modern economy. Distressed communities were the only cohort to actually lose jobs and business establishments while national-level growth was in full swing from 2011 to 2015. Perhaps worse, in an economy growing ever more dependent on knowledge, they are also the only cohort in which the majority of adults lack an education beyond high school.”

  1. Residents of poor counties spend most on lottery tickets, The Post and Courier, Oct. 2, 2017.

The Post and Courier looked at data from the S.C. Education Lottery and compared it to U.S. Census Bureau numbers. The report determined that the state’s poorest counties spend the most per capita on a chance to get rich quick.

Here are the highest per capita spenders:  “Per capita lottery spending in Orangeburg County was $1,217; Jasper County, $1,035; Bamberg County, $999; Clarendon County, $990; and Marlboro County, $943.”

Here are the lowest per capita spenders:  Abbeville County, $396; Dorchester County, $394; Greenville County, $375; Pickens County, $307; and Oconee County, $288.

5. First deadline set for million in Volkswagen settlement, National Conference of State Legislatures, Oct. 2, 2017.

Oct. 2 marked the beginning of a 60-day period for states to appoint their lead agencies responsible for doling out funds won against carmaker Volkswagen for its emission scandal. South Carolina’s lead agency will be its Department of Insurance (click here to read more). An excerpt from this week’s announcement:

“(The) $2.9 billion will be split into two separate trusts because of tax exemption purposes—the State Mitigation Trust and the Indian Tribe Mitigation Trust. Money placed in those trusts will be allocated to beneficiaries based upon the number of affected vehicles within their borders. To take advantage of those funds, potential beneficiaries, including states, are required to submit certification for beneficiary status no later than 60 days from the trust effective date, designating their ‘lead agency,’ certified by the office of the governor.”


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