News

NEWS:  Get ready for longer lines thanks to ID snafu

NEWS: Get ready for longer lines thanks to ID snafu

By Bill Davis, senior editor | Lines at the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles offices are on the precipice of getting unbelievably long, thanks to companion state bills that could force residents to get their driver’s licenses renewed soon.

But if one of those bills doesn’t pass to authorize the new form of identification, it will become harder for residents to check in at airports, even for domestic flights.

The bills, one each in the state House and Senate, would steer South Carolina to be in line with a federal anti-terrorism law passed in 2005 that created a more uniform license called REAL ID.

REAL ID, which should not to be confused with voter ID bills that many see as an obstacle to minority voters, set minimum “standards” for state identification cards.

by · 02/24/2017 · News
NEWS:  Billion-dollar solar investment waiting on lawmakers

NEWS: Billion-dollar solar investment waiting on lawmakers

The state Senate voted 38-4 on Feb. 7 on a bill (S. 44) that would provide an 80 percent property tax exemption to commercial solar enterprises that invest in South Carolina. The measure would also exempt residential solar investment from property taxes. A similar bill died last year in the House. The new bill is now in a House committee where it will sit for a couple of weeks as the House debates the state budget.

Investors say without the tax break, it doesn’t make business sense to plow the money into solar farms. Too much capital is required on the front end, they say, without enough incentives to make the numbers work.

So for now, plans are on hold to build at least 91 commercial solar farms, an investment of $1.4 billion according to the industry.

by · 02/17/2017 · News
BRIEFS:  It’s budget time; Remembering Joe Neal

BRIEFS: It’s budget time; Remembering Joe Neal

Staff reports | Lace up your budget boots because it’s already time to get serious. Next week, the House Ways and Means Committee will hold its full committee deliberations.

Because the legislature this year meets a full month less than in the past, the whole budgeting process is moving along at a quicker pace than many are used to. In the past, lawmakers generally voted on the budget by the first week of June. This year, though, they’re hoping to finish by May 1.

Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster during a nomination speech of President-elect Donald Trump at this year's GOP convention.

TOP FIVE: From McMaster’s priorities to common-sense investing

In this week’s Top Five stories you might have missed:

* McMaster offers insights into state’s challenges;
* How to fix sales taxes today;
* Hofferth outlines need for more higher ed support, funding;
* Scoppe asks legitimate questions on pension funding;
* Mayor pushes continued beach renourishment.

by · 02/17/2017 · News, Top Five
NEWS: Fixing the ‘unfixable’ S.C. pension mess

NEWS: Fixing the ‘unfixable’ S.C. pension mess

By Bill Davis, senior editor | Figuring out how much a recent plan to save the state’s pension system might cost the average taxpayer is close to impossible, with State Treasurer Curtis Loftis saying that seems to be on purpose.

A special House-Senate pension systems review committee last week introduced a series of recommendations to increase how much the state, counties and municipalities will have to pay to solve the state pension system’s unfunded liability, frequently reported to be about $22 billion.

The proposed plan would cap contributions by employees at 9 percent of their paychecks, increase employer contributions by 2 percent initially, with each percentage point bringing in $100 million annually. Then over the next four years, the employer contributions would be increased an additional 1 percent a year, topping out at close to 18 percent. In other words, after six years, employers using the plan would add $600 million annually to the pension plan to fix the problem.

by · 02/10/2017 · News
NEWS BRIEF:  Reading is fundamental

NEWS BRIEF: Reading is fundamental

Staff reports | The Republican-dominated House this voted to approve a resolution calling on new Gov. Henry McMaster to expand Medicaid in South Carolina.

WHAAAAATTT?!?!?!

by · 02/10/2017 · News, Palmetto Politics
TALLY SHEET:   Bills to help the working poor, raise gas tax, fix pension system

TALLY SHEET: Bills to help the working poor, raise gas tax, fix pension system

Staff reports | Lawmakers introduced 101 bills over the last week, including several measures by S.C. Sen. Marlon Kimpson, D-Charleston, aimed at helping low-income South Carolinians through a tax credit for the working poor and low-income housing credits.

by · 02/10/2017 · News, Tally Sheet
TOP FIVE:   On tax credits, gas tax, big fines, broadband, food insecurity

TOP FIVE: On tax credits, gas tax, big fines, broadband, food insecurity

Staff reports | Here are five stories over the last few days that you might have missed:

* Kimpson unveils economic plan for working families
* Lots of state considering gas tax hikes
* S.C.’s $100 million nuke claim dismissed — for now
* Deploy broadband now to make America great
* How post offices can help fight food insecurity

by · 02/10/2017 · News, Top Five