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ISSUE 12.17
Apr. 26, 2013

RECENT ISSUES:
12/04 | 11/27 | 11/20 | 11/13

Index

News :
Zais wants more school accountability, not cash
Legislative Agenda :
Crossover deadline soon
Radar Screen :
Ethics reform dying again?
Palmetto Politics :
Score one for the Constitution
Commentary :
The inspiring, heroic story of William Pinckney
Spotlight :
Erskine College
My Turn :
Solar leasing bill is step in right direction
Feedback :
Up and down on Medicaid expansion column
Scorecard :
Up on voting, down about ethics
Stegelin :
So, just change the rules
Number of the Week :
$1 million-plus
Megaphone :
Ethical flop
Tally Sheet :
Variety of new bills added
Encyclopedia :
Early public education

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EDITOR'S NOTE

What's Next, South Carolina?

Statehouse Report will host two conferences at the end of May to explore civic engagement with experts discussing South Carolina's economic, educational,  governmental and health care systems. If you live in the Pee Dee, learn how to join us May 29 in Florence.  Sumter-area residents can join us May 30 in Sumter

We're planning other sessions of the "What's Next, South Carolina?" conference series later this year in Beaufort, Charleston and Columbia.  More online.

NUMBER OF THE WEEK

$1 million-plus

That’s how much money that the state has been losing annually in tax collections thanks to the switch from mini-bottles to regular bottles not having had the hoped-for effect, which includes lowered DUI arrests. So, start drinkin’! More.

MEGAPHONE

Ethical flop

"This is not a procedural oddity but a failure of democracy.”

-- Lynn Teague, advocacy director for the state chapter of the League of Women Voters, reacting to the delaying of a vote on ethics reform this week in the House. Apologists said that the delay would give more politicians to read and consider the ethics reform bill. More.

TALLY SHEET

Variety of new bills added

As lawmakers passed a lot of bills this week from one chamber to the other, few new bills of substance were introduced. Among those to note are:

Animal rescue. S. 640 (Peeler) would prohibit an animal from being killed if another animal shelter requests the animal, with several provisions.

Background checks. S. 650 (Pinckney) would require firearms dealers to conduct background checks before selling assault rifles.

Filing period. H. 4003 (Gagnon) would revise candidate filing periods, with several provisions.

S.C. State. H. 4014 (Mitchell) seeks to reconstitute the Board of Trustees for S.C. State University.

Teacher incentive. H. 4017 (Robinson-Simpson) seeks to enact a new law to provide for a study committee to look into develop a STEP incentive for successful teachers in low-performing schools.

Prisoner tax credit. H. 4018 (Robinson-Simpson) would provide a $5,000 tax credit to any taxpayer who employs a former prisoner for a year, with eligibility requirements.

First Steps. H. 4020 (Allison) would reauthorize First Steps.

Midwives. H. 4024 (Crawford) would provide licensing procedures for midwives.

Discrimination. H. 4025 (J.E. Smith) would prohibit discrimination because of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Clemson Enterprise Act. H. 4039 (Skelton) calls for Clemson to establish an Enterprise Division that would be exempt from many state procurement, personnel, human resources and other laws, with many provisions.

Find any bill through these links:

ENCYCLOPEDIA

Early public education

Throughout the colonial period and beyond, private education remained the norm. Tuition-charging academies were the mainstay of secondary education. Notable schools included the Mt. Bethel Academy in Newberry, Moses Waddel’s Willington Academy in Abbeville District, and Madame Ann Mason Talvande’s French School for Young Ladies in Charleston. Other private academies sprang up throughout the state, sometimes with limited state support.

The curricula of these schools tended to the classics, Greek, Latin, and mathematics but varied according to the gender of the students. One female academy in Columbia, for example, offered a course of study that included belles lettres, French, music, drawing, and plain and ornamental needlework. There were 117 academies in the state by 1840 and more than 200 in 1860. An 1850 act provided support for the establishment of military schools in Anderson, Marion and Spartanburg.

In 1811 the General Assembly passed a new free school act authorizing the establishment of schools in each district equal to its number of representatives in the legislature. The state subsidized these schools at a meager level, and any white child could attend free, with priority given to orphans or children of the poor. These free schools came to be seen as “pauper schools,” a stigma that kept many away. Typically the quality of both the buildings and the instruction was low. In 1860 there were only 1,395 teachers operating 1,270 schools for 18,915 students.

The “common school” movement that swept the North and Midwest during the 1840s and 1850s missed South Carolina. State leaders debated the need for education for the laboring classes, and most seemed to feel that it would make them dissatisfied with their lot. Most estimates suggest that by 1860 only half of the state’s white children received any schooling.

Charleston was the exception. There, city fathers combined state allocations with a local tax to support schools attractive to all social classes, thus removing the “pauper school” stigma. The scheme included a city high school for girls to which was appended a normal, or teacher-training, school.

The central change to South Carolina society resulting from the Civil War was the abolition of slavery. As federal troops occupied the Sea Islands, and later the entire state, teachers sponsored by northern philanthropic and missionary societies followed, establishing schools for former slaves. Notable among these were the Penn School on St. Helena Island and the Avery Institute in Charleston. Enthusiasm among freedmen for education was high.

The constitution of 1868, shaped by Republicans during Radical Reconstruction, made the legislature responsible for “a uniform system of public schools.” Reflective of the concerns of the newly enfranchised freedmen, these schools were to be “open to all the children and the youths of the State, without regard to race and color.”

Most whites interpreted the attempt to offer free, public education to all as the imposition of a plan for social and racial equality. Schools were quickly segregated, the legislature was slow to provide funds, and mismanagement and fraud undermined the system.

By 1877 there were 2,552 schoolhouses in the state, but more than half were made of logs and only twenty-nine of brick. The vast majority were one-room, nongraded schools providing only elementary education and with an average school term of just four months. The limited impact of this system is suggested by high illiteracy rates. In 1880 twenty-two percent of whites and more than seventy-eight percent of blacks in South Carolina were completely illiterate.

Excerpted from the entry by Deborah M. Switzer and Robert P. Green Jr. To read more about this or 2,000 other entries about South Carolina, check out The South Carolina Encyclopedia by USC Press. (Information used by permission.)

PALMETTO PRIORITIES

Palmetto Priorities Statehouse Report encourages state leaders to develop and implement Palmetto Priorities involving several issues to make the state better a better place. Click the link to learn more about our suggestions for bipartisan policy objectives.

Here is a summary of our Palmetto Priorities:

CORRECTIONS: Reduce the prison population by 25 percent by 2020.

EDUCATION: Cut the state's dropout rate in half by 2020.

ELECTIONS: Increase voter registration to 75 percent by 2015.

ENVIRONMENT: Adopt a state energy policy that requires energy producers to generate 20 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2020.

ETHICS: Overhaul state ethics laws.

HEALTH CARE: Ensure affordable and accessible health care.

JOBS: Develop a Cabinet-level post to add, retain 10,000 small business jobs per year.

POLITICS: Have a vigorous two- or multi-party political system of governance.

ROADS: Strengthen all bridges and upgrade state roads by 2015.

SAFETY: Cut the state's violent crime rate by one-third by 2016.

TAX REFORM: Remove outdated special interest sales tax exemptions as part of an overall reform of the state's tax structure to be completed by 2014.

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News

Zais wants more school accountability, not cash

By Bill Davis, senior editor

APRIL 26, 2013 -- Mick Zais has a basic message to share with South Carolina: Whatever is wrong with the state’s public school system, it sure isn’t the kids’ fault.

Zais, South Carolina’s GOP superintendent of education, sat down for a one-on-one interview with Statehouse Report this week in a downtown Charleston library, surrounded by neighborhood kids that many in the state would consider educationally underserved.

Zais said that what ails the state’s K-12 schools are failures of adults – teachers, administrators, communities – who have not instilled a culture of educational success across South Carolina.

A different metric

The former Army general had little use for poverty as an excuse for the state’s lowly national education ratings. The real damage, he said, to education in South Carolina isn’t coming from kids in the Corridor of Shame that runs through rural and poor communities along Interstate 95’s path. Instead, it comes from the state’s upper-income students who are not doing as well as similar populations in other states, he said. 

Toting 10 pages of statistics and graphs to bolster his arguments, Zais pointed to school districts with high poverty rates that produce notably higher levels of educational attainment than expected. And he pointed to school districts that don’t do nearly as well academically considering their relatively higher levels of income.

Most educators base discussions of the number of poor students as being those who get free and reduced lunches in a school district. According to federal guidelines, a family of three can get reduced price meals if they earn 185 percent of poverty or less ($35, 317 a year) or free meals if they earn 130 percent of poverty or less ($24,817).

But to make his points about schools, Zais uses the federal definition of poverty -- $19,090 per family of three.  By using that definition, he’s talking about a smaller group of students, which can be confusing to people who measure poverty in schools in the more traditional manner. Critics contend he's playing a "numbers game" to lower the pool of students considered poor, which could make the problem of poverty in schools not look as bad as most people think it is.

For instance, the superintendent’s data showed that while Marion 7 school district may have 42.7 percent of its kids falling at or below federal Census levels of poverty, it scores an overall “B” on a federal accountability system and compares solidly to the rest of the state in terms of a ratio of achievement to income.

Clarendon 3 in Summerton may have nearly 35 percent of its kids at or below the same poverty benchmark, but it exceeds federal education achievement expectations by 18 percentage points. At the same time, Clarendon 3 spends the sixth-least per pupil of all the districts at just short of $8,700.

Zais likes the bang that Clarendon 3 is getting for its buck. Compare that to schools in McCormick County, a similar district with nearly a 31 percent poverty level but budgets of more than $16,300 per pupil. It ranks 69th in the state out of 83 districts for educational attainment, Zais said. 

So that leads to Zais’ second big point: Throwing money at a problem doesn’t necessarily fix the problem, he says. That line of thinking, for Zais, means that if the difference isn’t money -- or the kids -- then the problem must be the adults responsible for the school districts.

Under-reliance on super-tests

One of South Carolina’s core education problems, according to Zais, is a statewide under-reliance on “high-stakes testing,” which could revamp how classes are taught, curriculum is created, and how much teachers get paid.

Zais said a program he is shepherding in its “beta” testing stage would introduce merit pay for teachers’ salaries, where student year-end achievement could result in teacher salary increases.

“We pay our least effective teachers as much as we pay our most effective teachers,” said Zais, based on the state’s step and seniority-based wage scale. National board certification, in his eyes, is a waste of an additional state pay stipend for teachers, since, Zais claimed, the teachers who go for it were already good teachers in the first place.

Referring back to his stack of data, Zais said that following a national trend, South Carolina districts have added teachers and administrators to their payrolls at a rate that nearly quintupled the increase in student body populations.

According to his department’s statistics from the 1995-96 school year up to the 2011-12 school year, the state’s public school student population grew 10.3 percent. But, the percent change in teachers and administrators grew by 48 percent.

“For every classroom of 21 additional students who entered the system since the 1995-96 school year, an additional seven teachers or administrators have been hired,” he said.

Zais gets mixed reviews

Zais’ positions received mixed reviews around the state.

House Education chair Rep. Phil Owens (R-Easley) remained in lockstep with Zais, as has been his practice since Zais took office in January of 2011.

Speaking from the Statehouse where the elementary school he attended as a child “cardboard in the shoes and lunch pail in hand was being received on the floor, Owens picked up one of Zais’ talking points. He said that legislation had been introduced in the House in recent years to direct more funds to the classroom versus administration.

Owens, like many others interviewed for this story, did wonder about Zais’ comment about upper income kids not pulling their weight.

So did House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford (D-Columbia), who wondered where Zais got that stat “because I’ve never seen anything like that, and I’d be interested to see if he had anything to back it up besides conjecture.”

Jackie B. Hicks, president of the S.C. Education Association, wanted Zais to “show me the data” on under-performing rich kids in public schools.

Hicks went on to question a variety of Zais’ positions, from how the formula to evaluate merit pay for teachers would be constructed to why Zais hadn’t convened a summit or conference to share what his “darlings” districts were doing right with the rest of the state.

So far, Hicks said, she hadn’t seen much “leadership” from Zais -- just the ability to find blame.

On leadership, Rutherford agreed with Zais that it wasn’t the kids’ fault for educational woes in the state’s public system. But, he said, the adult most responsible was Zais himself.

“The numbers he’s using and his theories are so off base, they are more than ‘novel’ in the educational world – they do not make any sense,” said Rutherford.

Others have criticized Zais for not taking more of a leadership role in advocating for public education solutions that stick, much like the gummy glue on the back of the stamps in philatelist Zais’s beloved collection.

Critics have pointed out that Zais has not attended any of Gov. Nikki Haley’s education summits held with legislative leaders this year. Head of the Senate’s K-12 education subcommittee Sen. Wes Hayes (R-Rock Hill), said that Zais, a fellow West Point graduate, has taken an active role in informing the legislature about funding needs.

Zais defended himself this week, saying he was not invited. And then in a measured tone, he said he found it “interesting” that he wasn’t asked to attend.

But then again, he said, he wasn’t terribly interested in attending either.  For months, Zais has taken the position that it wasn’t his job to decide how education was funded, but that it was more important in deciding how the money the department was allocated.

Critics have said that position seems incongruous for a “lead from the front” infantryman like Zais.

Haley’s office did not respond to a request for comment on why Zais wasn’t invited to the meetings with legislators.

Crystal ball: Zais’ predecessor Jim Rex was criticized for taking a two-year “listening tour” before beginning to implement major changes. By contrast, Zais seems to garner the majority of his criticism for implementing new policies too quickly. Zais promised to hit the ground running and make changes, and so far he’s been good to his word. Whether it’s been good for the state will play out over the next few decades as his policy changes become entrenched or discarded.

Bill Davis is editor of Statehouse Report.  He can be reached at:  billdavis@statehousereport.com. Recent news stories include:

Legislative Agenda

Crossover deadline soon

The House was a flurry of activity this week on the floor. Why the change? Next week, the “crossover” deadline looms after which a bill needs a two-thirds vote to passed over to the Senate and vice versa.  

The Senate next week will be focused on the budget next week in subcommittees, with smaller, lighter “house-cleaning” bills dominating what floor debate does occur. The House is expected to consider ethics reform. The House goes on furlough during the week of May 6 when the Senate has its floor debate on the budget.

  • Senate Finance. A subcommittee will hold a hearing on the security breach at the Department of Revenue last year on Tuesday at 10 a.m. in 207 Gressette, and will vote on the confirmation of the agency’s new executive director. Agenda.

  • Senate Judiciary. The full committee will meet Tuesday at 3 p.m. in 308 Gressette to discuss a host of bills, including ones that would require permission for officials using the state plane, the creation of a statewide public integrity unit under the Attorney General’s aegis, and a bill expanding where concealed weapons permit-holders can carry their guns. Agenda.
Radar Screen

Ethics reform dying again?

Boy, that headline just writes itself these past few years. Joking aside, the House this week delayed voting on an ethics reform package, one of the keystones of nearly every reelection speech last year. Sources say the delay may effectively kill ethics reform this session due to timing issues with the looming “crossover” deadline on May 1 that makes it necessary for any bill shuttled between the House and Senate to require a two-thirds vote. Bad news for ethics reform: Those kind of super-majorities are rare. Ray of hope: The Senate this week passed a minor piece of ethics reform onto which the House could tack on its ethics reform package after crossover.

Palmetto Politics

Score one for the Constitution

Watchdog groups, state employees and other workers covered by the state’s health care program had reason to rejoice this week. The S.C. Supreme Court ruled this week that a maneuver by the state Budget and Control Board last year was unconstitutional.

Last year, the legislature voted to absorb health care program increases into the state budget instead of passing them along to covered workers. But, after last year’s legislative session, the budget board met and voted 3-2 to pass on some of the millions of increases to the workers. Those voting for the change were Gov. Nikki Haley, Comptroller Richard Eckstrom and Treasurer Curtis Loftis. The two dissenting voters, House Ways and Means chairman Brian White (R-Anderson) and Senate Finance chair Hugh Leatherman (R-Florence), had helped broker the absorption deal in the first place.

The ruling, in short, said that the board couldn’t overrule the General Assembly’s law because it would violate the separation of powers. Legislators write laws that governors enforce and the courts judge. But the latter two don’t get to rewrite state law, which is what happened here, in the court’s eyes. Now, Leatherman’s committee will have to decide if it wants to incorporate more health care program cost increases in its budget in the coming two weeks.

Too soon?

Supporters of Gov. Nikki Haley’s reelection effort turned some heads, locally and nationally, this week when it was discovered that one organization had apparently reserved about $130,000 in television advertising slots. 

Those ads would start airing next week -- a year and a half out from the next election. Some wondered if the early buy was the result of a strong opposition that state Sen. Vincent Sheheen (R-Camden) is expected to provide, considering the gaffes in her tenure and her narrow victory in 2011. Polling has the two at an early tie, with her approval rating climbing.

Commentary

The inspiring, heroic story of William Pinckney

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher

APRIL 26, 2013 -- You want someone like William Pinckney on your side.

The Beaufort County native, who would have turned 98 tomorrow, is such a hero that the U.S. Navy named a destroyer after him, the USS Pinckney. 

On Oct. 26, 1942, during the Battle of Santa Cruz, Pinckney was a Navy cook on the USS Enterprise when two Japanese bombs hit the ship. Pinckney, born in 1915 in the Dale community, was knocked unconscious when a five-inch shell exploded in the magazine he was manning. Four sailors died. When he came to, fire raged through the smoke-filled magazine. As he was trying to find a way out, he came upon gunner’s mate James Bagwell, who outweighed Pinckney by 20 pounds and was too weak to climb through an escape hatch, according to a Navy report.

But Pinckney picked up Bagwell to get through the hatch. On the way, an electrical cable touched Pinckney, knocking him unconscious. When he came to again, he got Bagwell up a ladder and to safety. Then “ignoring the burns that had taken the skin off his hands, right leg and back,” Pinckney went back into the magazine to see if anyone else was alive. Minutes later, he returned, collapsed and got treatment.

Later he modestly said he “did help a little here and there ... When the first guy seemed to be surviving pretty good, I went below to see if I could help someone else but they were all killed and I couldn’t help anyone.”

Pinckney, treated for shrapnel wounds and third-degree burns, received a Purple Heart and the Navy Cross -- the service’s second highest award for extraordinary heroism. After the war, he and his wife, Beaufort County native Henrietta, eventually moved to Brooklyn, N.Y. where Pinckney served as a cook in the Merchant Marine for 26 years. Then the couple returned home to Beaufort. Pinckney died in 1976 of spinal cancer and is buried in Beaufort National Cemetery. Mrs. Pinckney still lives in Beaufort, the Navy says.

When asked about his time in the Navy, Pinckney would “often tear up, saying only that he was ‘proud to serve.’” And that’s the motto of the destroyer that was named for him when commissioned in 2004. 

U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus told Statehouse Report that all sailors and Marines are heroic because they risk their lives to protect us.

“When those men and women confront incredibly difficult and dangerous situations and, without regard for personal safety, act to save lives, we call them heroes,” Mabus said. “'Hero' is a label we use to help us understand how someone like Navy Cook First Class William Pinckney could act so selflessly in the face of mortal danger.

“As Secretary, I have had the profound honor to award many of these heroes with medals, some posthumously. Not one medal recipient, family member or comrade in arms accepted that label. It isn't false modesty. It is simply the shared belief that they were just doing their job.”

William Pinckney’s story stirred Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling.

“We should all sing out loud as this is an inspiration for this and future generations -- how a man of modest means follows his moral compass to do the right thing for someone in dire need, risking his life to save another.

“There are so many young men who waste their lives listlessly on street corners in baggy pants or thinking that brandishing a firearm gives them an identity when Pinckney’s star should be shining more brightly than a rock star or athlete or drug pusher.”

Heroes like William Pinckney and all of the people who rushed to help victims of the recent Boston Marathon bombings motivate us to do better -- to be more selfless, more compassionate, more helpful and less partisan, less demanding, less irritable.

And perhaps our state legislators could learn a little something from Beaufort County’s inspirational cook. We need them to do what needs to be done to help lift South Carolina out of the country’s basement so we can all shine.

Andy Brack is publisher of Statehouse ReportYou can reach Brack at: brack@statehousereport.com.

Spotlight

Erskine College

The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring Statehouse Report to you at no cost. This week's spotlighted underwriter is Erskine College, whose mission is to to equip students to flourish by providing an excellent liberal arts education in a Christ-centered environment where learning and biblical truth are integrated to develop the whole person.  More:  Erskine College.

My Turn

Solar leasing bill is step in right direction

By Hamilton Davis
Special to Statehouse Report

APRIL 26, 2013 -- Clean energy technologies are flourishing in many markets around the United States. The solar industry alone employs over 100,000 Americans today, and billions of dollars in private capital are being invested yearly to deploy substantial amounts of solar capacity. Unfortunately, South Carolina continues to miss out on the economic and environmental benefits solar power represents.

Legislation (S.536) designed to open up the solar market in South Carolina by allowing limited third party energy sales and solar leasing failed to pass out of a senate subcommittee last week. Although a broad array of supporters ranging from schools to churches to private investment groups have been vocal in their endorsement of this legislation, concern from our state’s electric utilities about potential impacts from the bill have been sufficient to prevent legislative action.

Third party energy sales and solar leasing have become the primary driver for solar investments across much of the country. Essentially, a company leases your roof space to install a solar array and sells you the electricity produced from the panels. The leases are structured to save you money on your electricity bill and eliminate the costly upfront investment required to purchase a solar system outright.

This financing approach to solar investment is expected to grow from a $1.3 billion market in 2012 to $5.7 billion in 2016 and represents private capital that companies want to invest in South Carolina but can’t because of current legal barriers. As the situation now stands, state legislators won’t require clean energy investments by our utilities and have failed to remove free market financing barriers for home and business owners who are interested in the benefits that resources like solar can provide.

A variety of policies have been implemented in other states to drive solar investments. North Carolina has adopted renewable energy requirements for their utilities, and as a result they are ranked in the top ten states in the country for installed solar capacity. However, mandating utility investment in renewables and efficiency has proven unpopular in South Carolina.

Georgia Power has received regulatory approval for an aggressive three-year solar deployment program that will result in approximately forty two times more installed solar in that state than we currently have in South Carolina.  There have been no proposals from our in-state utilities for any such program.

The fact that South Carolina has a better solar resource than these neighboring states makes our lack of progress even more deplorable.

South Carolina cannot chain itself to 20th century energy policies as the rest of the country and the world moves forward. This is an untenable situation that must be addressed. Fortunately, there is recognition by our utilities that policy and regulatory updates will be required as technologies like solar become more accessible and widespread, and a number of initiatives and studies are now underway in the state to address the barriers to increased solar deployment. It certainly bodes well for the future that utilities, conservationists, research institutions and private businesses are beginning to engage these issues in a more deliberate way. 

However, it is a mistake to continue letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. Allowing solar leasing in South Carolina does not solve all of our problems, but it is a step in the right direction. Adjusting to 21st century energy realities will be an iterative process that requires constant study and a regulatory and policy environment capable of evolving with the times. The moment has come for us to take another step forward.

South Carolina native Hamilton Davis is energy and climate director of the S.C. Coastal Conservation League.

Feedback

Up and down on Medicaid expansion column

To the editor:

LOVED your article [Brack: “Take expansion money so businesses can avoid fines"] of 4/19 in the Upstate Business Journal

I rarely read these things. They make me roll my eyes too many times, but your article about the Medicaid expansion money was spot-on -- especially adding the quote from Frank Knapp, S.C. Small Business Chamber. Who would have thought it coming from such a group? 

Your article was an easy read, succinct, shed clarity and the tiniest bit of hope for some soul-searching readers, and should scare the bejeebers out of the business community if they had any sense.  If being the operative word. 

-- Carroll M. Wilson, Pickens, S.C.

Medicaid column skewed

Your story is skewed to present the viewpoint of Mr. Knapp. If you had studied the Affordable Care Act (ACA), you would not have been a mouthpiece for Mr. Knapp. 

First, the expansion is based on savings of $750 million from Medicare.  These savings do not exist and so they have never been asked to identify them.  The money will actually come from two sources.  There will be cuts in payments to health service providers and you and I both know that you cannot get better service with less payments. 

The Medicare premiums will be the second source and the GAO has predicted an increase of 30 percent in premiums in 2014 and even higher premiums in the following years.  Medicare recipients cannot pass the increases on to anyone while the small businesses can.  This act is also a house of cards and it would not surprise me if it folds like a cheap tent in four to five years leaving the states that have signed on to explain why the newly signed-up people have to be terminated.

This country already has a $17 trillion debt and ,per GAO projections, this debt will increase to or exceed $26 trillion  by 2023.  This does not include the boondoggle called ACA.  I know some small business owners.  They are smarter than Mr. Knapp, who has probably never owned or run a business, and they are finding ways around it.  They can reduce the full-time employees to below 50 by cutting the number of hours per week for some employees for one thing. 

-- Eruch Tata, Lexington, S.C.

Scorecard

Up on voting, down about ethics

Early voting. The House this week did the right thing – though maybe not the perfect thing – in passing an early voting bill that would open early voting in a nine-day window preceding an election whereby voters could cast their ballots with having an excuse. Absentee voting would be scrapped. More.

Cool school. North Charleston is home to the 10th best high school in the nation, Academic Magnet. More.

Net taxes. A bill winding its way through the U.S. Congress would make it easier for states to collect sales taxes from Internet retail purchases. This could make it easier for local businesses to compete better with neighboring states’ businesses who use the Internet as a way to skip state sales tax, and it could mean more money in state coffers – but it would definitely mean higher costs for online shopping for everyone. More.

Ethics. A House vote this week to delay an ethics reform bill may have hurt the effort this year. But not to worry. If it dies, the Senate will figure out a way to duck the issue next year. Harrumph.

Stegelin

So, just change the rules


RECENT STEGELIN: 4/19 | 4/124/5  | 3/29
credits

Statehouse Report

Editor and Publisher: Andy Brack
Senior Editor: Bill Davis
Contributing Photographer: Michael Kaynard

Phone: 843.670.3996

© 2002 - 2018 , Statehouse Report LLC. Statehouse Report is published every Friday by Statehouse Report LLC, PO Box 22261, Charleston, SC 29413.
Excerpts from The South Carolina Encyclopedia are published with permission and copyrighted 2006 by the Humanities Council SC. Excerpts were edited by Walter Edgar and published by the University of South Carolina Press. Statehouse Report has partnered with USC Press to provide readers with this interesting weekly historical excerpt about the state. Republication is not allowed. For additional information about Statehouse Report, including information on underwriting, go to http://www.statehousereport.com/.