News

Photo by Ted Eytan from Washington, DC, via Wikimedia Commons

NEWS: Higher health premiums could have dire S.C. consequences

By Lindsay Street, Statehouse correspondent  |  A health care economist says federal policy could make insurance unaffordable in South Carolina, which could trigger a jump in unemployment and tank the state’s economy.

If the Trump administration does not fund a $7 billion Affordable Care Act program that subsidizes health insurance policies for low- and middle-income earners, then insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs could face double digit increases for many policyholders in the state — whether they buy their insurance through the individual market or through an employer program.

With South Carolina already ranked at the bottom of the pack for health measures, the state’s economy could be crippled by people unable to work due to untreated illnesses and by hospital closures that might result in layoffs and health deserts.

by · 08/11/2017 · News
BRIEF: Feel soggy? Leaked report provides insights

BRIEF: Feel soggy? Leaked report provides insights

There sure has been a lot of rain around the Midlands and coast over the last 30 days, and now a federal report shows major rain events are occurring with higher frequency over the last 100 years in our area of the country.

According to the draft of a  leaked federal science report, climate change is affecting regions of the United States. The Associated Press reported Wednesday that there’s been an 8 percent increase in extreme rain in the Southeast over the last 100 years.  By 2100, rainfall could go up another 21 percent.

by · 08/11/2017 · News, Palmetto Politics
NEWS:  Is S.C. doing enough to grow, maintain small businesses?

NEWS:  Is S.C. doing enough to grow, maintain small businesses?

By Lindsay Street, Statehouse correspondent  |  Unemployment is down. Small business taxes and regulations are down. But there are 25 percent fewer small businesses today than prior to the Great Recession, according to small business advocates.

What’s killing small business in South Carolina? Lack of access to capital, they say. Now, they are eyeing the billions of dollars the state has spent on luring big business and say they want a piece of the pie.

“Regulations are not holding back small business. Taxes are not holding back small business in the state,” said Frank Knapp CEO of the S.C. Small Business Chamber of Commerce.  

by · 08/04/2017 · News
Construction at the Summer site.

NEWS BRIEFS: Nuclear fallout at Statehouse, a Q&A and impact of life sciences

In the wake of billions spent on nuclear reactors that will remain unfinished for the foreseeable future, South Carolina lawmakers this week established a bipartisan caucus, and others will reconvene for a special Senate committee meeting this month.

On Monday, Santee Cooper and South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G) abandoned the over-budget V.C. Summer project that has already cost $9 billion. Some of that money was raised by SCE&G on the backs of ratepayers, enabled by a 2007 act by the General Assembly.

Also: Six Questions with Santee Cooper and the impact of the life sciences industry in S.C.

by · 08/03/2017 · News, Palmetto Politics
NEWS: Environmentalists laud regulatory agency’s water plan efforts

NEWS: Environmentalists laud regulatory agency’s water plan efforts

By Lindsay Street, Statehouse correspondent  |  The state’s water regulatory agency is seeking more public input than ever, which environmentalists say gives them hope  for adequate protection of the state’s massive but limited water resource.

After Google’s Berkeley County site requested in March to withdraw millions of gallons from a groundwater aquifer followed by  a leadership change at the state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), environmentalists say the agency now has  better communication.

“They want to work with folks,” said Emily Cedzo, the S.C. Coastal Conservation League’s director of air, water and public health. “Their communication with local stakeholders, in my mind, has changed drastically and it’s gotten much better. The bottom line is that everyone is working more efficiently with the same goals in mind but there is still a lot more work to be done.”

by · 07/28/2017 · News
BRIEFS: South Carolina’s failing grade plus a great digital resource

BRIEFS: South Carolina’s failing grade plus a great digital resource

The Palmetto State’s low jobless rate and huge economic development victories over the years haven’t been enough for it to escape being named the nation’s worst on jobs and business, according to a new Prosperity Now scorecard.

More than one-third of jobs in the state pay less than $24,250 per year, and the average annual pay in the state is $46,411, the report said.. The data earned the state an “F”.

The Prosperity Now scorecard gave South Carolina an F grade based on 60 outcome measures from savings and graduation rates to homeownership and health care.  

NEWS: Lawmakers, nonprofits seek remedy for stalled nuclear construction

NEWS: Lawmakers, nonprofits seek remedy for stalled nuclear construction

By Lindsay Street, Statehouse correspondent  |  The construction of two nuclear towers at the V.C. Summer plant in Jenkinsville is continuing to shine a spotlight on a 2007 law that lawmakers and two nonprofits say enables unneeded or risky energy projects, while consumers unfairly shoulder those costs.

Friends of the Earth and Sierra Club this week released a report, “Failure of the Nuclear Gamble in South Carolina,” which focused on their June 22 complaint to a state regulatory agency that the $14-billion project should be halted and ratepayers should be reimbursed.

The V.C. Summer plant expansion project is owned 55 percent by SCANA’s South Carolina Electric & Gas and 45 percent by state-owned utility Santee Cooper. …

by · 07/21/2017 · News
De Santis

BRIEFS: Prevention program on chopping block; New number two

The Trump administration has cut a federal grants program advocates say has helped to decrease S.C. teen pregnancy rates.

Also: S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson announced Monday that Circuit Court Judge Jeff Young will serve his office as chief deputy attorney general.