Re: Senator Kevin Bryant to hold 4 “Firehouse Chats”.
Senator Kevin Bryant announced today that he will host a series of “Firehouse Chats” to update the constituents and taxpayers of Anderson County on a number of issues facing South Carolina.
As always, each constituent question and concern will be addressed. However, Senator Bryant will focus primarily on two issues: The South Carolina Retirement System Investment Commission (RSIC) and the Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW).
Sen. Bryant chairs a subcommittee that oversees the RSIC in both its operations and results. RSIC invests the contributions of state employees such as public school teachers, law enforcement, other state employees and most municipal and county employees along with the matching contributions of their employers. He will review the recent changes to RSIC and some new proposals that will improve its performance and transparency. Sen. Bryant also is concerned with the OPEB (Other Post Employment Benefits) fund which is responsible for retirees’ healthcare benefits and currently carries a $10 billion unfunded liability. Senator Bryant will share his thoughts on reforms to make that fund sound for retirees.
Senator Bryant also chairs a subcommittee that conducts oversight on the policies and procedures of the Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW). This agency has the responsibility of ensuring that South Carolina employers pay low and fairly assessed unemployment insurance taxes that fund unemployment benefits and also of connecting unemployed South Carolinians with employers that have good jobs open. SC DEW has undergone tremendous reform since 2009, and Senator Bryant has overseen its marked improvement from his position of subcommittee chairman.
The “Firehouse Chats” will be at the following fire stations: Centerville on Tuesday December 9th, Pendleton on Thursday December 11th, Powdersville on Tuesday December 16th, and Hopewell on Thursday December 18th. All firehouse chats will begin at 7pm.
For more information, please contact Sen. Bryant at email@example.com
I’m looking forward to visiting with the Powdersville Business Council with Representative Josh Putnam on Thursday, November 6th, at 11:45 am.
I’ll be talking about our work on some “inside baseball” issues. The Senate Finance Committee on the South Carolina Retirement State Investment Commission will be a topic. Also, we’ll chat about our work on the Labor, Commerce, Industry’s sub committee on the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce.
What else? Tax referendum, 2014 elections, road funding, next session, debt, and unfunded liabilities will be mentioned.
As usual, we’ll get some questions on as many topics as anybody wants to talk about. See you there!
DEW Releases 2015 Unemployment Insurance Tax Rates
Businesses will realize nine percent reduction over 2014 tax rates
COLUMBIA–The SC Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) announces the release of the 2015 unemployment insurance tax rates. The 2015 tax rates represent a nine percent reduction over 2014 tax rates. Overall, South Carolina businesses will see that tax rates are approximately 20 to 25 percent lower for 2015 as compared to 2011 taxes when the new structure was implemented.
Rate reductions are a direct result of the state’s economy improving, businesses employing more than two million South Carolinians, DEW dramatically lowering benefit payouts, and legislative and DEW policy changes to restrict benefits to individuals who lost their job through no fault of their own.
“The economy continues to improve, South Carolinians continue to find work and tax rates continue to decline,” said DEW Executive Director Cheryl M. Stanton. “This is truly a testament to the efforts of our state’s business community and workforce development. Because of its hard work, the UI trust fund is on a path to solvency in 2015.”
For the second year in a row, businesses should receive their individual tax rate notices during the first week of November, six months before their first tax payment is required. Wage and Contribution reports are due by April 30, 2015, and these tax rates apply to the first $14,000 earned by each employee.
To date, South Carolina has repaid approximately $700 million of the $977 million borrowed from the federal government. The outstanding balance on the loan is $270 million, and the state is still scheduled to repay the loan in full by the end of 2015.
Many local governments and special interest groups across our state have decided that now is the time to raise your taxes. I understand their arguments because I also want better roads, education, drainage, and infrastructure. However, as your State Treasurer, I have seen how all levels of government “manage and protect” your money, and the current standards are simply unacceptable.
I probably don’t live in your county, so I must respect your right to tax yourselves. However, we must have fundamental change in how our government operates. Implementing true fiscal responsibility and accountability are the first steps government can take to earn our trust.
Since the government and special interests want our money now, the time we should bargain for a “better deal” is now. Let’s say NO to new taxes and YES to meaningful transparency and accountability. Let’s say NO to back room deals with special interest and YES to high-ranking government officials being held responsible for protecting our money and delivering a quality product.
I’m going to vote NO on new taxes at the polls on Tuesday, and I encourage you to do the same. Let’s give the government and special interests a rain check for a vote on new money until the proper measures are in place to protect our money and deliver what is promised by special interests.
Treasurer, State of South Carolina
The Medical Affairs Committee met on October 16th with Healthcare officials to discuss the Ebola virus and the steps being taken to monitor, track and prevent it’s spread in S.C. Thornton Kirby, President of the S.C. Hospital Association, and Catherine Templeton, director of DHEC told the committee that their goal is prevention. They are also strictly following guidance provided by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Firstly, there are no known or suspected individual cases of Ebola in SC. Widespread outbreak is even more unlikely, as South Carolina and the United States in general have a low risk for an epidemic. However, hospitals across the state are very much on alert and being trained for the possibility that the virus is contracted.
S.C. healthcare providers are being taught a consistent message: Identify an Ebola patient, isolate them, and communicate with DHEC immediately in order to facilitate a rapid response. “The state would decide how best to treat an Ebola patient on a case-by-case basis,” Templeton said.
Right now, tests are being facilitated across the state that are similar to the “secret shopper” approach many restaurants use. Senator Hutto recommended that these drills be conducted in a way that no one knows it’s coming. “You never know if the plan is going to work until you really test it,” he said. These drills will be conducted at random to ensure everyone is properly equipped.
More information about the Ebola Virus and the precautions SC is taking can be found on the DHEC website here >>