German automaker BMW and Chinese partner Brilliance Automotive Group Holdings announced the joint venture BMW Brilliance Automotive to increase the number of vehicles built at facilities in China, with the new electric iX3 SUV produced only in China as the White House and China’s government enact or plan to enact tariffs on vehicles. But BMW’s Spartanburg plant will not move production of any vehicles to China, BMW spokesman Kenn Sparks said. Furthermore, BMW will still go ahead with a $600 million expansion in South Carolina and the X7 SUV going into production this year with 1,000 new jobs expected by 2021 to bring the total number of local workers to 11,000. The top destination for U.S.-made BMWs is China, followed by exports to Germany, and it is an open question if higher prices will cause demand to fall far enough to change production plans in South Carolina. “BMW is soundly and firmly committed to South Carolina, and that hasn’t changed,” Sparks told the Spartanburg Herald-Journal.
Rules for the S.C. Tuition Tax Credit that went into effect July 1 mean thousands of South Carolina taxpayers paying full-time in-state tuition at two-year and four-year higher education institutions will save up to $1,500 when they file 2018 state returns. Previously, the maximum tax credit at two-year colleges and universities was $350 and the credit at four-year schools was $850. The credit is a offsetting provision of the 2017 state law that raised a variety of South Carolina taxes, such as on gasoline, and while the tuition eligibility has stringent rules, it is a refundable credit that is not income-based and there is no GPA requirement.
Optus Bank is a rebranded identity “that embraces our historical focus and mission of creating wealth-building opportunities for everyone, regardless of background, privilege, or ZIP code,” South Carolina Community Bank announced in a June 26 letter. The bank, which is moving its operations to a downtown Columbia Main Street address, began as Victory Savings in 1921 as South Carolina’s first black-owned bank before changing to South Carolina Community Bank in 1999.
“The economy is thriving in the Palmetto State, but poor health care is sapping this state’s Southern Charm,” is the verdict of the cable business news channel’s study. While S.C.’s “Cost of Doing Business” was graded an A-, the state’s “Quality of Life” was marked an F. Border states Georgia and North Carolina are No. 7 and No. 9, respectively.
Irmo is South Carolina’s most affordable housing market and 116th in America, according to financial advice website SmartAsset. The study was based on data over a five-year period on closing costs, homeowner insurance, mortgage payments and property taxes, relative to income, in areas with a population greater than 5,000.