Construction Jobs Evaporating in South Carolina

The Associated General Contractors of America say South Carolina dropped 1,600 construction jobs in its report of May to June activity. That’s a percentage loss of 1.9%, which it shares with Ohio as the nation’s second-biggest percentage loss, behind West Virginia’s 2.1%. South Carolina lost 4,000 jobs over the year from June 2017, and that 3.9% job loss was the nation’s highest. It was in August 2017 when around 5,400 jobs disappeared when the V.C. Summer nuclear facility construction was halted. South Carolina’s annual numbers are at odds with national trends, as 32 states and District of Columbia saw construction jobs rise during the same period.

S.C. Churches Are Joining Petition on New Tax Liabilities

The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability is gaining signatures from dozens of South Carolina churches on a petition that’s requesting guidance and relief for changes in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that could result in churches and nonprofits paying taxes where they never have previously. The TCJA rules that groups that traditionally have been tax-exempt, such as churches, hospitals and colleges, pay a 21% tax on employee benefits such as meals, moving expenses and parking spaces. “The very purpose of tax exemption for nonprofit organizations is not to have their charitable, religious and educational activities on the same footing as taxable businesses because of their important work and the inherent challenges associated with raising money to support that work,” the petition states. A spokesman for Sen Tim Scott said he will work to fix provisions that restore breaks for charitable groups if needed. The new tax code has already raised concerns about charitable deductions, and the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center estimates $12 billion-$20 billion in deductions are slated to disappear.

New York Times Examines Effects of Tariffs for S.C. Vehicle Manufacturing

In Spartanburg County, where one in 10 people work in manufacturing vehicles or vehicle parts, residents are watching how the White House’s global trade war will affect vehicle exports. “BMW saved Spartanburg and transformed South Carolina into a manufacturing mecca to the world. When you mess with the golden goose, they’re family, and you’re messing with me,” said David Britt of the Spartanburg County Council. New York Times reporter Natalie Kitroeff reports: “Some workers in South Carolina want Mr. Trump to lay off of their German patrons, but others are happy he’s taking them to task for the [tariff] imbalance.” Leading up to these actions, the U.S. imposes a 2.5% tariff on European cars, while the EU places a 10% levy on American-made automobiles.

Report: Average Cost of Replacing an S.C. High School Principal is $24,000

Education researchers examined the expenses in six South Carolina public school districts that are linked to hiring high school principals and pegged the average cost of the search process and new hire training came to $23,974.29, with a high-end to low-end scale of $51,659.27 to $10,413.03. Additionally, schools with a high churn rate – for example, North Charleston High was led by eight principals from 2000-2011 – can lead to a trickle-down effect of high teacher turnover. “Although districts may indicate they do not have the financial resources to increase principal pay, districts may already be paying more merely to continuously fill the position,” the researchers wrote in the Management in Education academic journal. The U.S. Department of Education rates South Carolina as 24th in average state principal salary.

Summerville Town Council Ices Purchase of $100,000 in Snow Equipment

The Summerville Town Council voted in early July against the purchase of snow equipment with a price tag of more than $100,000. The topic of investing in five snow plows ($61,441.54) and five salt spray tanks ($41,392.95) had been postponed from an April meeting. In nearby communities, North Charleston has no snow plows or salt trucks while a City of Charleston spokesperson said the city is moving forward on buying two snow plows.