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Columns

  • Column: Senate, House OK hefty hikes to finance their own operations

    As S.C. lawmakers head into the final weeks of adopting an approximately $30 billion state budget for next fiscal year, their taxpayer-funded goody bag keeps growing bigger.
    For years, lawmakers have slipped in funding requests – often for their own pet projects – through obscure state budget provisos. This budget cycle is no different.

  • Column: Raise your financial literacy starting with these easy steps

    Did you know that April is Financial Literacy Month? It’s a good time to remind individuals regardless of their age about the importance of making good financial decisions.
    From the internet to iPhone applications, information on how to best manage your money for the future is easily accessible, yet the statistics on financial literacy rates in America are alarming. More than half of American adults can’t pass a test on basic financial issues, according to a survey by Raddon.

  • Column: Ex-legislator, his sister and $1M vets program

    In 2017, S.C. Rep. Mike Pitts pushed for state funding to launch a veterans’ therapy program that his sister positioned herself to manage and was overseen by the state agency that employed her for years, an investigation by The Nerve has found.
    Two years and $1 million later, the therapy program, called “Herd 2 Human” and operated by Jeff Patterson at his Willowbend Farm in Clinton, Mont., is yet to be implemented in South Carolina. The program involves veterans interacting with horses to help them deal with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

  • Column: Luring business: Are state’s millions well spent?

    In recent years, state lawmakers annually have earmarked a total of nearly $5 million to eight regional economic development organizations, presumably to help attract new companies to South Carolina.
    But whether taxpayers are getting significant, verifiable returns on their investment is questionable, The Nerve found in a review of required annual reports from four of the groups to the S.C. Department of Commerce.

  • Column: A new state retirement plan – for private employees?

    A bill filed last month (H.4258) would create a state retirement plan for private employees. The 401(K) style plan, called the Palmetto Work and Save Plan, would be available for employees of private businesses, nonprofits and even those who are self-employed.
    Individuals who work for private businesses would be automatically enrolled unless they opted out, and the default employee contribution would be 6 percent of the individual’s paycheck.

  • Column: Come help clean up Kershaw on April 27

    One of the things that Kershaw Heart & Soul is identifying from the community that matters most to them is having a community that is litter- free.
    One of the first things Kershaw Mayor Mark Dorman said to me is “something needs to be done about the amount of litter in Kershaw.”  
    Litter has been seen in streams, parks and largely on the side of the roads right here in the Town of Kershaw.  

  • Column: Bill would create another guarantee for utility debt

    A bill currently in a S.C. Senate subcommittee would guarantee a refinancing of SCANA’s debt by authorizing a new ratepayer charge.
    Under S.110, the Public Service Commission (PSC – the utility regulatory body accountable to lawmakers) could authorize SCANA to refinance its remaining debt from the failed nuclear project, or to refinance utility costs from natural disasters. The process is called securitization, and the debt would be guaranteed by law.

  • Column: Is New York Times v. Sullivan in danger?

    The basis of modern American media law is the 1964 ruling in New York Times v. Sullivan, in which a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court recognized that the First Amendment required that limitations be placed on defamation law. But the Sullivan decision has been the subject of criticism in some circles ever since it was decided, the latest being a concurring opinion by Justice Clarence Thomas.

  • Guest Column: The unique tax advantages of health savings accounts

    There’s a lot of talk today about health savings accounts and their benefits.
    An HSA operates a lot like a savings account that is used for the tax-free payment or reimbursement of qualified medical expenses.
    You have to be enrolled in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) in order to qualify for an HSA. These plans pay benefits only after a high annual deductible has been met. You can use funds from your HSA to pay for health expenses not covered by your HDHP.    

  • Column: Few road projects completed in first 20 months of gas-tax-hike law

    Less than 4 percent of the nearly $1 billion in road and bridge projects in South Carolina identified by the state Department of Transportation was completed in the first 20 months of the gas-tax-hike law, newly released DOT records show.
    Lawmakers promised that the law, which raised the gas tax 12 cents per gallon over six years, and increased other vehicle taxes and fees, would go toward fixing the state’s crumbling roads and bridges where their constituents live and work.