Will SC’s Employees or Projects be Recipients of State’s $177M Budget Surplus?

The S.C. State Employees Association wrote to Gov. Henry McMaster to consider splitting the state’s $177 million surplus into equal bonus pools for 80,000 public school teachers and state workers, whose salaries are 16% behind those employed by SC’s cities and counties according to a 2016 study that cost the state $300,000. A spokesman for McMaster said, “The governor has never been in a posture where he sees a bunch of money come into the state and he races to find out how we can spend it. He’s about smart investment. He has taken a targeted approach at state employee raises based on need.” The General Assembly’s options for spending the surplus now include the millions needed to repair infrastructure destroyed by Hurricane Florence, while a plan announced by S.C. House budget chief Brian White, R-Anderson, in the summer requests $50 million to upgrade voting machines.

SC’s Rural Poor Recovering from Florence Face Repeating Pattern of Falling Behind

Hurricane Florence is on pace to be another case study on how natural disasters disproportionately affect poor communities, even when Federal disaster money is taken into account.  “They (affluent residents of coastal South Carolina) can go to Florida or wherever they can go. They can collect insurance, pull up their carpet and redo their whole house. The average person, like me, can’t afford to do that,” said Crystal Simmons, 51, of Marlboro County, who lived in her rental house for two days without running water. Due to a collapsed road that could take months to fix, she must drive an extra 40 minutes roundtrip out of her way to her night shift manager job at a Cheraw fast food restaurant that pays $9 per hour to support her two teenage children. The researchers of a Brookings Institute study on how hurricanes affect low-income Americans wrote: “Ten years after Hurricane Katrina, residents whose homes flooded during the storm had lower credit scores and rates of home ownership than their neighbors who were spared the worst.’’

Add Another Name to York. Co. Manufacturing Roll Call

The global electronic drive system maker Linde Hydraulics Corp. is set to have operational in Rock Hill by the end of the year a new $13.4 million facility that will hire more than 60 workers. It’s a growing neighborhood of manufacturers in York County, joining Schuff Steel Co. (180 jobs), Performance Friction in Clover (100 jobs) and Wheel Pros in York (270 jobs).

Able SC vs. SC ABLE: Nonprofit at Odds with STO over Confusion from Entity Names

Able SC (www.able-sc.org), a nonprofit founded in 1994 that advocates for disabled SC residents, is taking the State Treasurer’s Office to court in an attempt to eliminate “widespread confusion” stemming from SC ABLE (www.scable.org), the marketing name for a state program that became law in 2016 and allows tax-deferred savings accounts for disability-related expenses so eligibility for government benefits can be maintained. The nonprofit says the suit is to protect its identity from “a source of unnecessary misunderstanding for all parties involved” for stakeholders and legislators, according to Able SC’s executive director. The State Treasurer’s office responded that it is obligated to maintain the name unless the General Assembly changes the title of the “South Carolina ABLE Savings Program,” and that it would work with the nonprofit to achieve that, but Able SC counters that the law does not dictate how the STO markets the savings plan.

Sweet Study: Halloween is when Palmetto State Tastes the Rainbow

Move over, candy corn. This Halloween, South Carolina will consume 119,000 pounds of Mars’ Skittles candies to lead the trick-or-treat candy parade, as declared by a state-by-state study by the CandyStore.com online retailer. Candy corn, which has been making its case since the 1800s, is runner-up with 97,610 pounds. Hot Tamales, the cinnamon-flavored treat by Just Borns, knocks on the door for third place at 39,738 pounds.