China’s retaliatory 25% tariff on American-made cars, which brings the Chinese import tax to 40% as of July 6, brought an announcement by BMW that its suggested retail price on the X5 and X6 SUVs manufactured in South Carolina will rise 4%-7% when shipped to China, effective July 30. New exports of the X4, which have yet to go on sale in China, will see its price increase upon its launch, a BMW spokesman said. According to BMW’s figures, its Greer plant shipped 81,186 vehicles to China in 2017 with an export value of $2.37 billion. Observers are now set to watch if those numbers will be affected by the new pricing.
The group that manages Richland County’s embattled $1 billion transportation-improvement program known as the Program Development Team, which consists of 20 full-time employees from three private companies that work apart from the county transportation department, is asking Richland County Council for an OK on pay increases for 2018, as well as retroactively for 2016-2017. That would lead to an 11%-13% raise, where most county employees got 3%-4% raises in 2017 and 2018 with no raise in 2016 or 2019. The team, which has not seen pay increases since its $31 million contract began in late 2014, is paid through funds collected by Richland County’s 1% countywide transportation improvement program sales tax approved by voters in 2012. PDT salaries already compare higher than their county counterparts; for example, one PDT secretary earns $52,187 per year while salaries for county administrative posts top out at $43,596, and PDT program manager David Beaty earns $168,854 per year while Richland transportation director John Thompson makes $112,000. The County Council will consider the motion in September, but Councilman Bill Malinowski noted to The State newspaper it is the PDT’s responsibility to set salaries.
SCANA shareholders voted that they will sell the South Carolina utility to Dominion Energy. If the merger is approved by regulators, SCANA will become a wholly owned subsidiary of the Virginia-based company, which has promised to write off more than $1 billion in debt from the failed V.C. Summer nuclear construction project.
Brackish, which sells feathered bow ties handcrafted in their Charleston workshop, was the Palmetto State’s representatives at the White House’s “Made in America” product showcase, where a handcrafted product brand was featured from every state. Co-founders Jeff Plotner and Ben Ross chronicled their trip to Washington on social media.
5-Year Prison Sentence for Finance Manager Who Embezzled $810,000 from North Charleston Event Planners
John Scott Jarrett of Summerville, who was finance manager for the North Charleston corporate event production firm Production Design Associates, was sentenced to five years in prison after he pleaded guilty to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft in exchange for a reduced sentence from the 22 years he faced. From 2012 to 2017, Jarrett deposited nearly $500,000 in company checks written to a fake contractor into his own account. He also secured $300,000 from online lenders by using the name and Social Security number of PDA’s owner. Because lenders forgave some of the loans after Jarrett’s indictment, he is set to repay $690,000 upon his release from prison. The attorney for Jarrett said a sale of his house and some of his wife’s retirement money are already marked toward repayment. “This is something it will take years for us to recover from. I have trust issues that will never go away,” PDA owner Jeff Nickles told the judge.