Job training for food stamps recipients – In recent updates, I have talked about South Carolina’s focus on – and national recognition for – training unemployed individuals so they will have the skills necessary to compete in the workforce. This past week, two state agencies announced plans to require unemployed individuals on food stamps to participate in job-training programs in order to keep the benefits. A similar program is already in place for individuals collecting welfare benefits. To read more about the program, go here.
Port lawsuit – There’s been a good bit of attention over the last several months about DHEC’s board issuing a permit to Georgia to dredge the Savannah River in order to deepen the port in Savannah. Savannah’s port competes directly with Charleston’s port, and our port is a huge economic driver for the state. Several groups joined together earlier this year and filed a lawsuit to rescind the permit. Last week, the South Carolina Supreme Court agreed to hear the case. You can read an article about the lawsuit here.
Restructuring in limbo? – On Tuesday, Speaker Bobby Harrell and Treasurer Curtis Loftis released a statement about the Senate’s amendments to the Department of Administration/Government Restructuring legislation. Specifically, the Speaker and the Treasurer expressed concern about South Carolina’s AAA credit rating. As someone who has been very involved in the restructuring movement, I’m interested to see the proposals to be offered by the Speaker and the Treasurer. I, too, want to maintain the credit rating, but I fear this is a well-planned attempt to resurrect the Budget & Control Board and preserve the status quo. 15 states have a AAA credit rating; 14 of them do not have a Budget & Control Board. Surely we can ensure “fiscal integrity” without undoing the progress made in the Senate. You can read the statement issued by the Speaker and the Treasurer here.
Angel Investors – On Thursday, a Senate subcommittee approved legislation to encourage “Angel Investors” to invest in South Carolina. The bill would provide a tax credit for individuals who provide start-up funds for new businesses. With recent reports of South Carolina attracting interest for life sciences, alternative energy, and other high tech businesses, this legislation could encourage more movement in that area. The bill still has a long ways to go before becoming law. To read a short article on the bill, go here.
Michelin expansion – Last Tuesday, Michelin announced plans to invest $750 million to build a new plant in Anderson and expand an existing plant in Lexington. The investment is expected to create 500 new jobs, more than half of which will be at the Lexington plant. You can read a couple articles about the new investment here and here.
Bridgestone hiring – The Bridgestone plant in Graniteville announced a significant expansion last Fall. They are now hiring for the new positions. For information on how to apply, go here http://www.readysc.org/bato/ Additionally, Bridgestone is now hiring machine technicians. To read an article about this specific job, go here.
MTU expansion – Tognum America announced recently that it will expand its Graniteville MTU plant. Here’s a press release from the department of Commerce. http://sccommerce.com/news/press-releases/tognum-america-inc-expanding-aiken-county You can also read an article from The Aiken Standard, discussing the expansion.
If you know of a business that is hiring, please let me know. I’d love to include that information in the next newsletter so we can get the word out.
On Tuesday morning, I attended a Lexington Chamber of Commerce breakfast and learned about new programs and updates at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport. The airport is a huge economic engine for the Midlands.
After session on Tuesday, I drove to Bath for a town hall meeting at Jefferson Elementary School. We had a good conversation about redistricting, government restructuring, and the state budget. Thanks to those who came out!
Wednesday and Thursday were busy days at the statehouse. The Senate was in session, with several votes, on both days. And I got my exercise running between committee meetings.
On Thursday night, I had a town hall meeting at Merriwether Elementary School. We had a great crowd and a wide-ranging discussion about state and local issues. I really appreciate all the input.
On Friday afternoon, I had a couple meetings in McCormick. Then I drove over to Lexington High School for Mid Carolina Electric Cooperative’s annual meeting. There was a huge crowd – probably around 5,000 people – and I got to meet a lot of new folks. It was a busy, but fun, day.
Homestead exemption filing is open – Persons who were at least 65 years of age, blind, or 100% disabled as of December 31, 2011, are entitled to a property tax exemption on the first $50,000 in appraised value on their residence. However, in order to get the tax exemption, the person must apply with the county auditor. Auditors are now accepting applications for the 2012 tax year. Contact your county auditor with questions.
Town Hall Meetings – I have held 10 town hall meetings this Spring, and I’m trying to schedule a few more. I’ll keep you updated as they’re finalized.
New Senate District – Our Senate district has changed because of the 2010 census. The district now contains all of Edgefield County and parts of Aiken, Lexington, McCormick, and Saluda Counties. If you’d like to see the new district map, go here.
Speaking with Groups – Several groups, clubs, and classes around our Senate district have invited me to attend their meetings and provide legislative updates. If you would like for me to come speak with your group, please let me know.
Email updates – If you know of people in or around District 25 who do not receive my updates but would like to get them, please email their names and email addresses to me. You can also forward this email to them and encourage them to sign up for the updates at www.senatormassey.com.