As state lawmakers start to submit their 2019-20 legislative session proposals, The State newspaper examined 10 possible topics that could be in play. Among them, State Rep. Wendy Brawley, D-Richland, is behind a plan to lift the state’s minimum wage to $12 per hour, up almost $5 from the $7.25 set to the Federal minimum wage since 2009. When it comes to the state’s underfunded pension system, State Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort, plans to file a bill to put new hires into a defined-contribution plan rather than the current defined-benefit plan. Among other ideas are using the expected $200 million from online sales taxes to raise teacher pay; a 7% tax on firearm sales that would collect $22 million annually to hire new school resource officers; an equal pay for women bill; and eliminating daylight saving time.
A U.S. affiliate of Chinese memory-foam mattress manufacturer Healthcare Co. Ltd. will spend $45 million and hire 250 workers to begin operations in early 2019 in a 650,000-square-foot Winnsboro plant formerly used by Mack Trucks and Guardian Building Products. Fairfield County, which lost 5,400 jobs in July 2017 when construction was abandoned at the V.C. Summer nuclear plant, will receive a $300,000 grant from the rural infrastructure fund of the S.C. Coordinating Council for Economic Development toward renovation of the factory.
The family-owned KnifeSource chipper blade plant in Fountain Inn has spent at least $300,000 in legal fees and costs, which is around 3% of annual revenue, to fight this year’s import taxes as they acquire steel from Slovenia and Austria needed for their products. The Halloran family has watched orders and production drop by almost a third for what company founder Jay Halloran calls “tariff-induced torture.” KnifeSource has qualified for some tariff exemptions through the “cumbersome” legal process but is awaiting word on refunds for $100,000 paid on other tariffs. “I agree with conservative policies, I understand what (Donald Trump is) trying to do,” Jeff Halloran said. “And yet I’m getting punished for this.”
In honor of their relief efforts in Horry County and their trusted status in the community, the Waccamaw Community Foundation and the American Red Cross each received from Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune checks of $64,162, which represented all the proceeds of the Hurricane Florence Benefit Concert in November. More than 3,000 people attended the show at a minor league baseball stadium that featured country music artists Darius Rucker and Michael Ray.
An 80-acre site in Fort Mill that once housed a minor league baseball stadium and NBA practice facility is being considered as a new team headquarters and practice facility for the Carolina Panthers, sources told The Post and Courier. The move from Charlotte’s downtown stadium 15 miles away would relocate around 300 employees to York County, which is booming from other Charlotte-area companies moving from North Carolina’s higher taxes and for South Carolina’s business expenses. Hedge fund manager David Tepper, who was an honorary co-chair of the inaugural committee of SC Gov. Henry McMaster, bought the Panthers over the summer for an NFL-record $2.2 billion, and a state-of-the-art NFL team headquarters could expect to have a $1.5 billion price tag.