Post Tagged with: "Gilda Cobb-Hunter"

NEWS:  High tuition, high aid at S.C. public colleges pose problems

NEWS:  High tuition, high aid at S.C. public colleges pose problems

By Lindsay Street, Statehouse correspondent  |  Part 1 of 2  |   A continuing slide in state funds to public colleges is contributing toward making higher education more unattainable — and could cause South Carolina to miss out on the future global economy, according to an national education policy analyst.

Tuition rates are on the rise at South Carolina’s public colleges, largely in response to losing a third of state funding in the last 10 years. At the same time, state funds for merit-based, lottery scholarships have increased dramatically to about $300 million this year, an increase of about 12 percent per year.

These two factors have combined to make South Carolina colleges to be known as “high-tuition, high-aid,” which impedes access to higher education with the possibility of hurting the state’s economic future, according to Thomas Harnisch …

by · 10/13/2017 · News
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
Dozens of bouquets lined a sidewalk Thursday outside Emanuel AMC Church in Charleston.  The display board still lists the late Sen. Clementa Pinckney as the church's pastor.

NEWS:  Hate crime bill withers, but some say it’s not needed

By Lindsay Street, Statehouse correspondent  |  A House bill seeking to make it a felony to target another person because of race, religion or sexual orientation is withering in committee and will die unless lawmakers return from recess with an appetite for addressing hate crimes.

Five previous iterations of so-called hate crimes legislation in South Carolina have died in committee since 2009. South Carolina is one of five states in the U.S.  without a hate crimes statute.

Advocates say passage would send a clear message that hate crimes are not tolerated. But detractors say there’s no need for such a statute since hate crimes, regardless of motive, can already be punished through existing laws and judges have sentencing discretion.

by · 08/25/2017 · News
NEWS: Legislators wait on bus funding, causing some to worry about risk

NEWS: Legislators wait on bus funding, causing some to worry about risk

By Lindsay Street, Statehouse correspondent  |  Top lawmakers say they are waiting until January to override a gubernatorial veto, an action that would fund hundreds of new school buses.  Why the wait?  They say it’s because they are being good stewards of public dollars.  And anyway, waiting to override the veto won’t delay getting dangerously old buses off roads, they say.

Others wonder if there’s more to it.  

S.C. House Majority Leader Gary Simrill, R-Rock Hill,  told Statehouse Report the state S.C. Department of Education currently has the funds it could temporarily use to order the buses.  That money, he said, would then be reimbursed by a January override that would release $17.5 million from S.C. Education Lottery proceeds. He said it’s up to state Superintendent Molly Spearman to order the buses sooner rather than later.

by · 07/14/2017 · News
NEWS:  Earned-income tax credit has surprise chance

NEWS: Earned-income tax credit has surprise chance

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher | State Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter for years has dreamed of South Carolina having an Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) as a way of raising incomes for the working poor.

Now there’s a chance it could get done as a part of a broad gas tax package passed this week by the state Senate to generate much-needed hundreds of millions of dollars a year to fix roads and bridges.

“I love it because the one thing I can say about this bill is that there is tax relief for people who really need it and that group is working families in this state,” Cobb-Hunter , an Orangeburg Democrat, said this morning. “Hallelujah!”

by · 04/28/2017 · News
NEWS: Clock is ticking on shortened legislative session

NEWS: Clock is ticking on shortened legislative session

By Bill Davis, senior editor | With only a month left in this year’s legislative session, the state General Assembly appears to be about halfway through its agenda of “big ticket” items – the annual budget, pension reform, road funding and education reform.

Monday when neither the state Senate or House are in session, will mark the point in the session where it’s harder for new bills to gain traction as a two-thirds vote is required to send one bill from one chamber to the other. It is referred to as “crossover day.”

This year’s “crossover” is three weeks earlier than in the past as the legislature last year voted to lop of the final three weeks of the legislative session in what was billed as a tax savings for voters.

by · 04/07/2017 · News
NEWS: State employees starting to squeak on their pay

NEWS: State employees starting to squeak on their pay

By Lindsay Street, contributing reporter | One of the state’s top employers isn’t paying most of its workforce enough to meet a secure living standard, and more than one in ten of its employees have said they have used public assistance to support their families, according to two recent studies.

That employer is the State of South Carolina, , which employs more than 32,000 people in jobs that range from custodial services to healthcare.

And while Palmetto state headlines lately have focused on the state’s ailing pension system and crumbling highway infrastructure, the real need for adequate compensation for state workers could be gaining bipartisan traction — even if an exact pathway forward has not been identified.

Orangeburg Democratic Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter said better employee pay may be making headway, thanks to state employees.

by · 02/03/2017 · News
NEWS:  Shorter session may imperil second-tier issues

NEWS: Shorter session may imperil second-tier issues

By Bill Davis, senior editor | State Rep. Bruce Bannister (R-Greenville) said this week that no issue has flooded his email inbox more than a proposal this year to allow teachers to carry guns “since the legislature considered changes to bear-hunting season.”

That issue and a host of others will fight for space in the coming legislative session, in the nooks and crannies not filled by the “big four” issues expected to dominate the General Assembly’s agenda: roads, education, tax reform and saving the state’s pension system.

House Speaker Jay Lucas’ office declined to discuss anything beyond the “big four,” despite repeated requests.

by · 12/23/2016 · News