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March 31, 2015   Chamber Website Facebook Twitter YouTube
 
   

South Carolina GEAR UP Turns 20

   
   

Want to know what the SC Chamber is doing in the area of education? One of the most successful, long-running (20 years!) programs at the Chamber is SC GEAR UP. Ted Pitts, president and CEO of the South Carolina Chamber, spoke with to Cynthia Bennett, director of business relations, SC Gear Up, about South Carolina’s program and how it benefits South Carolina’s residents during a recent edition of “CEO Corner.” Volunteers, teachers, parents, students and business leaders are encouraged to take note and find a way to join this nationally decorated program in South Carolina.

   
   
 
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Committees Forward Infrastructure Proposals to House and Senate 

Both the South Carolina House and Senate have passed infrastructure proposals out of committee that now head for debate in the respective bodies.

Last week, the House Ways and Means Committee passed an infrastructure funding plan (H.3579) to reduce the state’s 16.75-cents per gallon gas tax by 6 cents and reinstate the 6 percent state sales tax on wholesale gasoline, while also increasing the sales tax cap on vehicles from $300 to $500, raising approximately $400 million total. Additionally, the committee approved a plan to provide approximately $50 million in income tax relief.

The Senate Finance Committee passed a plan (S.523) to raise approximately $800 million for roads and bridges by increasing the gas tax by 12 cents phased in over a three-year period. The proposal also indexes the gas tax increase for inflation beginning in 2018. The plan raises the sales tax cap on vehicles from $300 to $600 and increases driver’s license fees and vehicle registration fees. The committee also approved a $60 biennial fee on hybrid vehicles. Sen. Hugh Leatherman (Florence) made a motion to set the bill for Special Order, giving it priority for debate on the Senate floor, but the motion failed to receive the two-thirds vote required.

 
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Competitiveness Update
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State Makes $75 Million Unemployment Trust Fund Loan Payment

The SC Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) announced it made a $75 million early payment to the federal government towards the agency’s unemployment trust fund loan. The payment brings South Carolina’s loan balance to $120 million and saves the state approximately $1.3 million in interest.

“South Carolina experienced record high employment throughout 2014, as benefit payouts continue to decline monthly enabling this $75 million early payment to be possible,” said DEW Executive Director Cheryl M. Stanton. “The state continues to have strong economic growth and I am excited that the state will pay off this federal loan in the coming months.”

To date, South Carolina has repaid more than $857 million of the $977 million borrowed from the federal government.

 
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Washington Night in South Carolina is TODAY!

An anticipated attendance of 300 is expected at Washington Night in South Carolina, presented by AT&T! Always a favorite, Washington Night is your opportunity to tell your congressional representatives how they can make federal policy decisions to better benefit the economy and allow the business community to prosper. The actions of Congress are more crucial now than ever before in solving the challenges of the economy, health care, tax policy, environmental and union issues.

Can’t attend the event? You can still join the conversation. Submit a question now to the Congressional panel.

Congressmen attending:

  • U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney
  • U.S. Rep. Tom Rice
  • U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford
  • U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson
 
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Best Places To Work In South Carolina Deadline Is THIS FRIDAY

The South Carolina Chamber, the publishers of SCBIZ and Best Companies Group have partnered for the 10th consecutive year to produce the Best Places to Work in South Carolina. These awards are dedicated to recognizing South Carolina’s most innovative and top-notch employers. Upon completion of an assessment process, all participating companies will receive an Employee Feedback Report, which details results of their specific survey. Similar reports can cost thousands of dollars if initiated independently.

Those companies selected as Best Places to Work will be honored during a reception and dinner on August 6 at the Columbia Marriott, presented by Colonial Life. To be eligible for consideration, companies must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a for-profit or not-for-profit business or government entity
  • Be a publicly or privately held business
  • Have a facility in South Carolina
  • Have a minimum of 15 employees working in South Carolina
  • Be in business a minimum of one year

For questions regarding the registration process or if you do not receive your confirmation e-mail within 24 business hours after submission, please contact Katie Springman or call 877-455-2159.

 
View the 2015 program timeline
 
Apply by April 3
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OSHA Training Set for June: Limited Space!

Earn your OSHA voluntary training card while potentially saving your company thousands of dollars by attending the 10-hour or 30-hour OSHA General Compliance Course in Columbia on June 23-26, 2015. Taught by an experienced OSHA-authorized instructor, the shorter, 10-hour course will be held June 23-24. It will provide one and a half days of intensive review of current OSHA requirements in the area of occupational safety and health. For a more comprehensive look at the OSHA 1910 general industry regulations, attend the four-day, 30-hour OSHA course June 23-26. The training is designed to present practical, proven information that can be implemented immediately in the workplace. The early bird rate will expire April 30, 2015. This event will sell out, so don’t delay.

Participants who successfully complete these courses will receive an official OSHA 10- or 30-hour course completion card from the U.S. OSHA. South Carolina’s OSHA guidelines are 99 percent consistent with federal OSHA guideline standards. The card will demonstrate an effort toward voluntary compliance with all applicable OSHA standards and will be useful in protecting your company from OSHA inspections. Also, the 30-hour OSHA course will cover proposed OSHA recordkeeping regulations. 

 
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