Experts Disagree on How a SCANA Bankruptcy Could Play Out
It took New Hampshire ratepayers decades to scale down some of the nation’s highest electric bill payments as a utility recovered from a bankruptcy. In South Carolina, experts are weighing in on what a SCANA bankruptcy would look like if its proposed purchase by Virginia-based Dominion Energy crumbles should it be barred from continuing to charge SC customers for a failed nuclear project. Among the scenarios of a SCANA bankruptcy: reduced or eliminated payments to retirees, pennies on the dollar for services provided by local vendors, and hundreds of millions of dollars in legal fees for court battles that could take years to resolve.
BB&T CEO Apologizes to Furious Customers for Days of Banking Outages
BB&T customers by the thousands expressed their anger for being denied access to their money for days via online banking, mobile apps and ATMS, starting Thursday afternoon on Feb. 22 and continuing through the weekend. Chairman and CEO Kelly King released a video apologizing for the system outages, which the Winston-Salem-based bank blamed on a malfunction at a data center.
Despite Production Declines, BMW Manufacturing Leads U.S. Auto Exporters
The BMW plant in Spartanburg County was the U.S.’s largest vehicle exporter by value in 2017, thanks to shipping around 237,000 X models with a reported export value of $8.8 billion through the Port of Charleston. But that is about 8% lower than the 2016 export value of X model vehicles shipping through Charleston ($9.5 billion). A BMW Manufacturing spokesman said plant upgrades in 2017 led to the declines, and the company remains positive about 2018 and beyond with the plant’s infrastructure improvements and job offerings planned to be on the rise through 2021.
$49M Being Readied to Ease Traffic on Charleston’s Savannah Highway
A $49 million effort thanks to revenue from a Charleston County half-cent sales tax will be dedicated to improving traffic flow along a four-mile stretch of Savannah Highway/U.S. Highway 17 near Interstate 526. The road will not be widened but improvements will be identified after analysis of traffic and right-of-way data, and the work is expected take five years.
Retirees Struggle to Find Place in SC Tax Code
As South Carolina’s retiree population outpaces the number school-age children, it puts senior tax exemptions in the spotlight. Proposals by S.C. House members slash many senior tax exemptions, and that could diminish the Palmetto State’s reputation as an ideal destination for retirees and their wealth. But it’s clear that at a certain point, seniors and their needs place increased demands on services funded by the working class.
‘This is not normal’: Glitches and the New Tax Law
Typos from drafting errors, conflicting instructions, laws with unintended consequences and directives that aren’t all that clear are setting Republicans and Democrats up for further sparring on the new tax code. As problems add up that lawmakers can’t fix, that puts pressure on Treasury to provide answers, even if it’s unclear how much authority the agency has since it can only interpret the law and not advise otherwise if a statute is clearly written but leads to a head-scratching result.
EPA to Help Pay for New School Buses, So Long as Old Ones are Destroyed
The Environmental Protection Agency is pledging $620,000 to South Carolina — where state lawmakers routinely decline to pay for required annual school bus replacements — to get rid of decrepit diesel-fueled school buses with 31 lower-emission rides as part of the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act. An important component of the funding: the state must “decommission” old buses by drilling holes in the engines and crushing the bodies. “They want pictures of it. There’s no fooling them there,” an S.C. Department of Education spokesman said.