Post Tagged with: "Gov.Nikki Haley"

October is Italian American Heritage Month

October 8, 2017 5:00 AM
October is Italian American Heritage Month

October is officially designated as Italian American Heritage Month thanks to a bill passed in the SC General Assembly in March 2015.

The bill added Sec. 53-3-200 to the SC Code of Laws designating October of every year as Italian American Heritage month.

Sen. Ray Cleary chaperoned the bill through the SC Senate and former Rep. Nelson Hardwick performed the same duties in the SC House. It was signed into law by Gov. Nikki Haley on March 27, 2015.

The bill recognizes the many vital contributions of Italian Americans to the state in the political, social and economic systems of South Carolina.

Horry County resident Fred Nesta was recognized as the catalyst behind the effort to pass the bill. A member of Grand Strand Lodge 2868 of the Order of Sons of Italy in America and a past national state deputy of the order.

“This legislation is to recognize the efforts of all Italians and Italian-Americans who sacrificed to give future generations a better life,” said Fred Nesta. “Over the past decade, a heightened interest in our roots has come about, where we came from, what we stand for, recognition of the contributions of Italians and Italian-Americans and their influence in the world…this drives us to seek and learn more about our roots and share in the joy of our heritage with our entire community.

Nesta said members of local chapters of OSIA and other Italian clubs and organizations in South Carolina embody these interests and values which include giving back to the community through monetary donations and services and to share their Italian heritage through local and national Italian festivals and other endeavors.

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SC Senate Committee Approves Gas Tax Hike

February 5, 2016 5:10 AM
SC Senate Committee Approves Gas Tax Hike

The SC Senate Finance Committee voted 14-8 this week to approve a 12 cents per gallon gas tax hike for next year’s budget.

This move was part of an overall vote to replace a SC House road repair plan, approved last year, with one written by the Senate. The House plan approved a 10 cents per gallon gas tax increase.

The Senate plan includes more revenue raising proposals including an increase in driver’s license fees, an increase to a maximum cap of $600 sales tax on a vehicle, up from the current $300. Also included were additional fees on hybrid and electrical vehicles.

The House plan provided for a small cut of state income tax while the Senate plan provides for no tax cuts.

If the Senate plan gains approval from the full Senate, it will have to go back to the House for approval. However, several senators have already placed the plan on the contested calendar meaning the full Senate will have to vote to bring the bill before the full body.

Additionally, if Gov. Nikki Haley sticks to her word, she will veto the plan, if it ultimately passes both houses, because no offsetting tax cuts are included.

It is interesting to note, Senate proponents of the plan are already broadcasting how much of the tax will be paid by non-SC residents. The current estimate is 30%.

This is always an interesting argument that proponents of tax hikes always use to make the tax more palatable for their non-thinking constituents. Tell them how much will be paid by tourists or other outside groups.

What is never mentioned is South Carolina residents will be paying 100% of the tax year around. What percentage of gross revenues may come from tourists or others traveling through the state is really not a consideration for the South Carolina citizens who will be paying the increased tax all the time.

This debate will only become more interesting as the legislative year progresses.

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Taxes, Flag Top 2015 SC Newsies

January 1, 2016 6:44 AM
Taxes, Flag Top 2015 SC Newsies

Local tax increases and removal of the Confederate battle flag from the statehouse grounds topped the 2015 news stories.

Horry County Council passed the largest single tax increase in county history with a 7.2 mil increase in property taxes. Just for good measure, council also increased the road tax charged on every vehicle registered in the county by 67%.

Sold to the public as a means to increase public safety, the tax increase was really Horry County Council bowing to the will of county employees for a pay raise.

As council member Harold Worley said during debate of the tax increase, “Not one penny of the tax increase will go toward putting one extra officer on the street. Response times will not go down nor will community policing increase because of the tax increase.”

Adding insult to injury, the road annual tax was increased from $30 to $50 per vehicle, ostensibly to provide more money for maintenance of roads in the county road system.

Just a few months later, county council voted to use approximately $16 million in excess revenue from Ride II tax collections not for roads, but to buy a new radio system for public safety.

Five county council members will be up for re-election in 2016, but only one, Gary Loftus, voted to increase taxes.

Five of the six council members voting to raise taxes were elected or re-elected in 2014 and hope the voters will not remember this tax increase in 2018 when they face election again.

The statewide issue that was most intriguing was the removal of the Confederate battle flag from statehouse grounds.

This was done in just several days of a special session called by Gov. Nikki Haley. It demonstrated the General Assembly can act quickly when it wants to.

This special session followed a five month regular session when the General Assembly did absolutely nothing about the most important issues in the state – road maintenance and repair, ethics issues and school funding.

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Winthrop Poll Supports Flag Decision

September 30, 2015 6:00 AM
Winthrop Poll Supports Flag Decision

The first Winthrop Poll since spring has some interesting findings among South Carolina respondents regarding the removal of the Confederate battle flag.

The Winthrop Poll is a long-term survey initiative designed to keep public policy makers across the country in touch with the attitudes and opinions of residents of South Carolina. It is the only regular “snapshot” of public policy attitudes of the residents of the South or of the state of South Carolina.

Two-thirds of the respondents said the SC General Assembly made the correct decision this summer to remove the Confederate battle flag from State House grounds. Broken down by race, 54% of White respondents and 93% of Black respondents supported removal of the flag.

However, asked about the significance of the flag, 47% said it stood for Southern pride while 40% of respondents said it stood for racial conflict.

Only 25% of South Carolina respondents said they believed the national economy was going in the right direction. However, again the schism as 63% said the South Carolina economy is good or fairly good.

Respondents said the two most important issues facing South Carolina are jobs/unemployment and education, the two issues tied at 13.3%.

Gov. Nikki Haley received a 55% approval rating with Sen. Tim Scott receiving 53% approval and Sen. Lindsey Graham receiving 40% approval from respondents.

With respect to roads, 84% of respondents said the state should give priority to fixing existing roads over building new roads.

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Missing in Atlantic Beach

August 14, 2015 6:00 AM
Missing in Atlantic Beach

(Ed. Note – Filing for municipal elections opens next week. Grand Strand Daily is going to pay special attention to those in Atlantic Beach and Conway, two communities that are missing opportunities but, ripe for change.)

Driving through the streets of Atlantic Beach yesterday, I was shocked by the dearth of people and cars.

Atlantic Beach is probably the only oceanfront community on the Atlantic coast in mid-August with almost empty streets and a nearly empty beach.

The only cars in sight were those parked on the empty oceanfront lots by people either patronizing the local parasail business or enjoying the quiet beach.

The approximately four block oceanfront has only a couple of small buildings breaking up otherwise empty land on what would be the first and second rows of commercial establishments in other beach communities.

The avenues running from Kings Highway to the oceanfront and the cross streets connecting them have a number of empty lots. Empty, often overgrown lots only minutes from the beach!

Atlantic Beach could be a modern case study on missed opportunities.

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SC House Confederate Flag Debate Today

July 8, 2015 7:00 AM
SC House Confederate Flag Debate Today

The SC House of Representatives will begin today what should be the final debate on removal of the Confederate flag from statehouse grounds.

After a bill to remove the flag raced through the SC Senate in the last two days, garnering only three No votes, momentum is on the side of removing the flag.

But, the House may not be as easy even though the bill received first reading approval yesterday.

A total of 26 amendments to the bill are already filed with the possibility of more coming.

Some of the amendments deal with flags to replace the current one when it comes down.

Some are in the realm of the absurd – just like South Carolina politics most of the time.

One, I am told, calls for the American flag to be flown upside down when the Confederate flag is removed. This may not be as ridiculous as it first sounds.

Flying the American flag upside down is an international signal of distress. That seems very appropriate in an area near the statehouse.

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SC General Assembly, Much Ado About Nothing

June 24, 2015 5:10 AM
SC General Assembly, Much Ado About Nothing

It seems that it takes national news making events to make the SC General Assembly work at all.

This year’s edition of the SC General Assembly may be known as the group that removed the Confederate battle flag from the statehouse grounds and little else.

In the past few days, momentum seems to be building for removal of the Confederate flag in response to the massacre of nine Black citizens at a Charleston church.

Removal of the flag was nowhere on the SC General Assembly radar at the beginning of the legislative year, or last week for that matter.

But now it will be debated in a specially amended legislative session next month and members of the SC General Assembly are falling all over themselves to demand its removal.

A bill to require police body cameras throughout the state was passed after a North Charleston police officer shot a fleeing Black man in the back two months ago.

Both events were covered by major national and international news organizations so they got the attention of the legislators.

Does it really take a major tragedy to get the SC General Assembly to act?

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The Do-Nothing SC General Assembly

May 3, 2015 8:00 AM
The Do-Nothing SC General Assembly

The SC General Assembly is moving quickly to another do-nothing year with respect to legislation that may actually be positive for the state.

Ethics reform went down in February because the Senate would not allow independent oversight of its members.

Legislation to raise money for road repairs is on the Senate’s contested calendar making it highly unlikely it will be up for a vote in the few weeks remaining in this legislative year.

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Second S.C. Gubernatorial Debate Changes Nothing

October 23, 2014 6:00 AM
Second S.C. Gubernatorial Debate Changes Nothing

The second S.C. gubernatorial debate is history and, again, nothing happened to derail Gov. Nikki Haley’s ride to re-election.

That doesn’t mean Haley is the best candidate, or even a good one, but she has the “R” behind her name that virtually guarantees statewide office wins in South Carolina.

Watching Nikki Haley, you can almost see insincerity oozing out of every pore. Haley says what she believes she must say to toe the line on her unique brand of ultra-conservatism. Much of the time, however, Haley doesn’t look like even she believes what she says.

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Public Discussion on Economic Development Incentives

October 21, 2014 1:00 PM
Public Discussion on Economic Development Incentives

Independent Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Ervin should be thanked for introducing economic development incentives into the political discussion recently.

While Gov. Nikki Haley campaigns around the state claiming to have created 57,000 new jobs in South Carolina during her first four years, Ervin recently released a report debunking much of Haley’s claim.

Maybe the voting public will now realize that neither state bureaucrats at the S.C. Department of Commerce, nor operatives at locally created economic development entities have any business throwing taxpayer funded “economic development incentives” at businesses they hope will create new jobs in the area.

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