The third annual study by financial advisory website SmartAsset found that a net gain of 6,554 millennials moved to Columbia in 2017, making it the country’s fourth-most popular city for those in the 20-34 age demographic to relocate (which was 32 millennials behind third-place Portland, Oregon). The Census Bureau data shows Columbia’s gain makes up 4.95% of the population of the “college town,” which is the highest percentage of 173 cities studied. South Carolina was not among the top 10 states ranked, which included North Carolina (fifth) and Georgia (seventh). Columbia ranked second on SmartAsset’s 2018 city study.
S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson announced that more than $2.17 million in restitution will be available for the 2.3 million South Carolina residents who were affected by the 2017 Equifax data privacy breach that compromised a record 147 million American consumers, or 56% of the nation’s adults. An investigation found that the consumer credit monitoring company neglected to patch software it knew to be vulnerable, and hackers were able to collect Social Security numbers, dates of birth, addresses and credit card numbers for the largest-ever theft of consumer data. The settlement involves payout to 48 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Eligible consumers can submit claims and find more information at ftc.gov/equifax.
As a way to put “cranes in the sky” and spur vertical construction in downtown Columbia, the city council has approved a measure for the city manager to authorize an air rights development contract to build three to four stories of a hotel atop the Lady Street parking garage. District 4 Councilman Daniel Rickenmann described the attempt as a “triple header” for city tax revenue as a generator of accommodations, hospitality and property taxes. While feasibility and structural studies would still be on the horizon for the developer, council members see business construction as an excellent revenue opportunity when so many blocks of real estate are occupied by city-owned parking decks. “I think it’s an innovative concept, to be able to put a taxable property on top of a garage,” at-large Councilman Howard Duvall said.
The Senate’s 2017 compromise on the way to enacting an annual 2 cents per gallon rise through 2022 on the state’s gasoline tax was that motorists could offset the eventual 12 cents per gallon tax for road construction by keeping their receipts for fuel payments and maintenance costs and filling out a form for a tax break to offset those pennies. It turns out that the 80,600 filers who went through the process received on average a $24 refund for it on their 2018 income tax returns for a total of $2 million, which is short of the $40 million cap legislators placed for the credit’s first year, according to figures from Department of Revenue (the reimbursement cap will be $65 million for next year’s returns). Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey, R-Edgefield, said the disparity proves that the path to the rebate is “too complicated and too much of a hassle for people to fool with.” Unclaimed gas tax credit money will be returned to the state transportation department.
SC Biz News has unveiled its annual list of South Carolina’s 40 fastest growing companies, divided in two categories of growth revenue above and below $10 million. Rankings are based on growth and revenue, with results approved by SCACPA 100% Firm Cherry Bekaert.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
“The people of South Carolina were angry about this breach and the potential for identity theft, and rightfully so. This breach is something that Equifax could have prevented.”
S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson, in a release announcing the state’s $2.17 million share of up to $700 million Equifax will pay in a settlement for its 2017 data privacy breach
“(South Carolina’s) gas tax really doesn’t break the bank, and it’s not as egregious as some people once believed.”
Sen. Larry Grooms, R-Bonneau, the creator of the state’s annual gas tax rebate, on how few people filed for the credit on their 2018 income tax returns. According to AAA, South Carolina’s average gas prices are the nation’s fifth-lowest.