S.C. Housing Report Estimates Economic Impact of State’s Unaffordable Housing is $8.4B

The newly released South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority report contains a calculation of the economic impact of unaffordable housing across the state, and the result approaches the amount of tax revenue the state will need to meet its latest annual budget of $8.7 billion. “Excessively high housing costs cause 32% of SC households, including over half of renters, to come up short in meeting their most basic needs (food, fuel, etc.). This imposes a cost on the state of $8.4 billion borne by public assistance, private charity, or personal deprivation.” For metropolitan and coastal parts of the state, robust employment and high pay are negated by exploding prices for rent or homes; and while rural housing costs are low, income and jobs are scarce in those areas. The four counties of Charleston, Greenville, Horry and Richland account for 40% of severely cost-burdened renter households, where renters spend at least half their income on costs for rent and utilities. (Post and Courier)

$8B Deal Would Send 66 Greenville-Built F-16s to Taiwan

A $8 billion contract where Greenville’s Lockheed Martin plant would build 66 F-16 fighter jets for shipment to Taiwan was confirmed by U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham in a tweet. “I’m also pleased these F-16s will be manufactured in #YeahthatGreenville South Carolina,” Graham tweeted. While the agreement must still be approved by Congress, the first aircraft will be ready in 2021 from the South Carolina Technology and Aviation Center, which is south of Greenville. A spokesman for Lockheed Martin’s F-16 production division had previously estimated that construction of the updated veteran fighter jet would create at least 400 jobs. (Greenville News)

Rural SC Dye Manufacturer Cites Tariffs for 9 Layoffs

Archroma U.S., Inc., announced layoffs for nine of its workers who earned $50,000-$60,000 annually with benefits and its head of operations told The State newspaper it was due to fallout from tariffs imposed from the U.S. trade war with China: higher costs for materials sourced from China led to decreased production and a loss of market share in foreign markets. The plant in rural Allendale County, where the 2017 median income was $23,331, produces dyes and chemicals that brighten paper and textiles. A key acid used in making the additive is not produced domestically, forcing Archroma and its competitors in the state to import it from China, the only country that exports more of the chemical than it imports. The White House ordered a 10% tariff on the acid in September and boosted it in May to 25%. Archroma, which has seen its spending on tariffs rise from $200,000 a month to nearly $1 million a month, is now dependent on the Trump administration for declaring a waiver on the tariffs to remain competitive with competitors from India, Indonesia and Taiwan, who can now undercut domestic producers on pricing because they do not have to pay tariffs on the Chinese chemical. Plant head of operations Russ Gibson said the factory is on pace to lose 100 jobs. “The Martin plant has a strong likelihood that it will not exist in the next 18 months, if this process continues, after 40 years of working in the community and being one of the main industries in Allendale County.” (The State)

Columbia Florist Arrested on Charges of Operating Business After License Revoked

South Carolina Department of Revenue agents arrested a Richland County florist on charges of operating a retail business without a license. Anthony Gerard Kennedy, 49, operator of Flower Station, is charged with one count of operating a retail business without a license and was held in the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center to await a bond hearing. According to his arrest warrant, Kennedy’s retail license was revoked in October due to unpaid business taxes and he was advised by the SCDOR to close his business. An SCDOR release says it explained the process multiple times to Kennedy, and he received multiple violations for continuing to operate his business without a retail license. The department says he made sales without a valid license from November 2018. If convicted, Kennedy faces a maximum sentence of a $200 fine, 30 days in jail, or both. (SCDOR)

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

“People are driving two hours, each way, to work because that’s where the affordable housing is. We’ve got multiple residents who work at Boeing (in North Charleston) who have moved to Georgetown because it’s more affordable.”

Rep. Lee Hewitt, R-Georgetown, asking S.C. Housing officials at a House Legislative Oversight Committee meeting to assist residents of coastal areas where wages are low but land costs are high