News

Photo:  Milkin Family Foundation

NEWS: Trump picks Zais for post; Silent Witness ceremony honors victims

Former S.C. schools chief Mick Zais appears to be headed back into public service nearly three years after leaving the state post. On Wednesday, the White House announced President Donald Trump intended to nominate Zais to be deputy U.S. Secretary of Education.

The deputy position, vacant since Jan. 20,  is a presidential appointment that requires Senate confirmation.

Also in this news brief is a stark reminder of the state’s high level of domestic violence as a Statehouse ceremony was held for 39 who died in 2016 from domestic violence.

by · 10/04/2017 · News, News briefs
TOP FIVE: S.C.’s large piece of the federal pie, more

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

By Lindsay Street | 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.”

by · 10/03/2017 · News, Top Five
NEWS:  State’s battle against sex, labor slavery becomes public

NEWS:  State’s battle against sex, labor slavery becomes public

By Lindsay Street, Statehouse correspondent  |  Only about 1 percent of human trafficking victims escape bondage, according to victim advocates. Of that percentage, few press charges against their assailants, especially if the enslaved person is an adult.

So when South Carolina reports there have been 50 state cases of trafficking in persons closed and 28 cases pending in 2016, that number belies the prevalence of modern-day slavery.

“Slavery never ended,” said a representative** at Fresh Start Healing Heart (FSHH), a Charleston organization that works with the South Carolina Human Trafficking Task Force. “It’s been going on for so long. It’s just so hidden in plain sight … (But) more people are starting to talk about it so we’re finding more cases.”

by · 09/29/2017 · News
NEWS BRIEFS:  New local government committee; S.C. has low excise taxes

NEWS BRIEFS:  New local government committee; S.C. has low excise taxes

A special ad hoc House committee has convened to study how the state funds local governments.

Earlier this month, Statehouse Report broke news that S.C. House Ways and Means Chairman Brian White, R-Anderson, wanted about why lawmakers want to look at how the state doles out money to counties and municipalities.

Also: A new report from the Tax Foundation shows South Carolina had the third lowest average for excise taxes – those special taxes and sales taxes on booze, smokes, gas, amusements, insurance,  utilities and more.  In other words, taxes on things a lot of people relate to fun.

by · 09/28/2017 · News, News briefs
TOP FIVE:  On drug tests, college exams, child support, wages, roads

TOP FIVE:  On drug tests, college exams, child support, wages, roads

Here are some news stories impacting South Carolina that you may have missed recently in the headlines:

1. More people are failing drug tests than ever before in South Carolina.

2. South Carolina ranks higher than average on college placement exams.

3. South Carolina collects 19 percent more on child support.

4. Wages remain mostly stagnant for workers

5. Much of new road work goes toward lobbyist members, WIS-TV, Sept. 20, 2017.

Click the link to get more details.

by · 09/26/2017 · News, Top Five
NEWS: Incomes improve in S.C., but prosperity elusive, experts say

NEWS: Incomes improve in S.C., but prosperity elusive, experts say

By Lindsay Street, Statehouse correspondent  |  The median household income in South Carolina is on the rise but policy experts say there is more the state can do to help make prosperity more accessible to its residents.  Many are just one paycheck or a medical event away from not being able to pay bills.

“There are lots of folks who are absolutely struggling in the state,” said Sue Berkowitz, director of S.C. Appleseed Legal Justice Center, which advocates for the state’s low-income earners.

According to a new report from the Census Bureau, South Carolina’s 2016 median household income was $49,501, which is about $2,000 more than the previous year.  More than 40 percent of S.C. family households earn less than $49,999 per year, the Census said.  But experts say …

by · 09/22/2017 · News
NEWS BRIEFS: Looking for more teachers; Dems for governor?

NEWS BRIEFS: Looking for more teachers; Dems for governor?

Educators urge state action on teacher shortage

The numbers are stark: nearly 6,500 teachers do not return to their positions annually, while South Carolina education programs graduate 1,700 annually. On top of that, enrollment in S.C. teacher training programs is declining on average by 4 percent per year. …

Also inside:

Dems starting to queue up for governor?

It’s pretty much an open secret that state Rep. James Smith, D-Richland, will be a Democratic candidate for governor vying to challenge whoever wins the GOP nomination in a crowded field. …

by · 09/21/2017 · 2018, News, News briefs
TOP FIVE: Climate change, S.C. State, taxes

TOP FIVE: Climate change, S.C. State, taxes

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.  Click to find more on:

1. Tough sell: People aren’t changing minds on climate change despite crushing hurricanes

2. Mayors pave path forward on climate change

3. No one wants to be on the S.C. State University board

4. Red states benefit from tax deductions on federal chopping block

5. U.S. Supreme Court could be the next stop as state governments seek to claim Internet sales tax money

by · 09/20/2017 · News, Top Five