Unemployment Trust Fund and Electric Vehicle Tax Credit – Legislative Update from Rep. Tom Young

May 3 to May 9, 2011

The House of Representatives is in session for 2011.  I hope that you find this update helpful and informative:

Unemployment Insurance Tax Status:  A group of Senators and State Representatives including Senator Ryberg from Aiken have considered since January a number of scenarios to provide short term relief for employers on unemployment insurance tax assessments.  The assessments are part of the state’s plan to pay back the debt owed to the federal government for the unemployment insurance trust fund.  Many of the scenarios involve extending the payback time or shifting taxes between classes of businesses. Last week, Senators Ryberg and Leatherman introduced a proposal for the State to share in the payback of the money to the federal government by using $100 Million from the state budget.  The plan known as “Scenario 34” would do the following:

  • provide $100 million in true tax relief to employers in rate classes 2-20 and help pay down the federal debt this year;
  • reduce the number of state benefit weeks from 26 weeks to 20 weeks, saving 8 percent annually;
  • restrict seasonal benefits and allow employers to claim a credit to unemployment insurance accounts when they offer an employee severance pay.

Workers Compensation Insurance Costs to Employers: The House passed this bill (H. 3111) last week.  I filed the bill both last year and this year to help lower the costs of workers compensation insurance for employers in our state.  The bill requires insurers to use the most recent loss cost data in setting rates rather than allowing them to use older data to set rates.  South Carolina is one of the few states not to have made this a requirement and the Department of Insurance recommends the change to help lower the costs of workers compensation insurance in South Carolina.

Governor Haley in Aiken:  Two weeks ago, Governor Haley was in Aiken.  While visiting the Rotary Club, she complimented me for work in the House of Representatives.  If you did not see it, you can see it here.

Tax Credit for Electric Vehicle Purchase: On Thursday, the House considered a bill that would allow a $2,000 state tax credit to state residents buying an electric vehicle.  This credit had previously been approved in 2007 and recently expired.  This bill would have renewed it.  I voted against it.  First, I do not believe that residents of our state need any more incentive currently to purchase an electric vehicle other than the rising price of gas.   Second, very few people took advantage of the credit during the past 4 years.  For example, in 2008, 18 taxpayers statewide claimed the credit.  The House passed the tax credit by a vote of 64-40.

High School Dropout Bill: The House took this bill (H.3164) up on Thursday before adjourning debate until this week.  This bill prohibits possession of a driver’s license until age 18 unless the young person is enrolled in, or has completed, high school.  The bill does have a hardship provision for some limited exceptions including where the young person has to go to work to support himself or his immediate family. Georgia and North Carolina have similar requirements in their state law.  Florida also has a similar law and reported that in a sample pool of 2007-2008 dropouts, 96% reenrolled in school within 90 days of losing their license.

Confidentiality of HIV Bill:  On Tuesday, the House considered S. 435 which would delete the current requirement that DHEC notify the local school district superintendent and the school nurse when a student tests positive with HIV.    I voted against the bill and the bill failed by a vote of 35-49.

More On H-Canyon at SRS:  Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell sent a letter last week to Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Chu requesting that the Department reconsider its decision as to H-Canyon.  A copy of that letter can be seen here.

New Ways and Means Committee Chair: The House Ways & Means Committee has selected Rep. Brian White, (R-Anderson) to replace Rep. Dan Cooper to be its Chairman. Cooper has resigned from the House effective June 30.  As Chair of Ways and Means, White will be one of the five members of the State’s Budget & Control Board.

High Visibility Road Signs Update:  In recent weeks, I have received several calls about the new high visibility safety signs at intersections around the district.  Upon seeing them, I contacted SCDOT to find out about them.  The SCDOT safety office in Columbia initiated a state-wide project in late 2009 to improve safety at over 2200 intersections across the state using federal highway safety improvement funds (not state money). Through this project, the DOT targeted the top 2200 intersections that reported the highest crash frequencies throughout the state.  Each intersection received updated pavement markings and/or signal enhancements and new signs. A copy of the DOT’s press release about the program can be seen here.

High Visibility Road Signs in Aiken:  There have been a number of complaints about several of the signs put up in Aiken in the historic district and down town under the above-mentioned program.  Working with local residents, I have identified a list of those intersections and requested that SCDOT remove the signs from those locations.  We are waiting on a response from SCDOT.

State Budget:  The Senate is still working on its version of the State Budget.  I will provide more information when the Senate bill comes back to the House in the next few weeks.

Redistricting:  If you have an opinion on whether Aiken County should remain as part of two Congressional districts or be included in just one district, please let me know by emailing me at TomYoung@schouse.gov.  Your input will be provided to the House Judiciary Committee.

Responding to Your Emails:  I have caught up on the large volume of emails that I received in April.  Thank you for your patience.

Helping Local Children with Hunger: With both the Aiken County Schools and Golden Harvest Food Bank, the 2010-2011 Leadership Aiken County class is sponsoring a group project to raise both awareness of and funds for children in Aiken County who are at risk for hunger.  To learn more, go here or call (803) 641-2856.

Report Waste, Fraud and Abuse in State Government: To report waste, fraud and abuse in state government, you can call: 1-855-SC-FRAUD.

Roll Call Voting: There is a new link available to keep up with all the roll call votes in the S.C. House.  That link can be accessed at either my website at www.reptomyoung.com or at the www.scstatehouse.gov website.

Facebook: I have a Facebook page for Representative Tom Young. Please “like” the page to receive updates during the week from me on Facebook.

Tom Young’s Website: My updated website can be reached at www.reptomyoung.com. There are links to a variety of constituent services; the status of sponsored bills; and roll call votes. Please add my web site as a bookmark on your computer.

State House Tours:  Tours are available for the S.C. State House by calling (803) 734-2430.  If you schedule your tour on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday between now and early June, please let me know so I can make every effort to see you.

Email Updates:  If you know of people in or around District 81 who do not receive my updates but they would like to, please email their names and email addresses to me.

Road Issues:  If you see a road problem, call the SCDOT at 641-7665 or Aiken County at 642-1532 to report the problem.  If you do not get a prompt response, please let me know at TomYoung@schouse.gov or call me. Generally, most paved roads in the County are maintained by SCDOT and are identified on the road sign poles by a small black and white sign listing the road number, such as S-2-1669. Most unpaved roads in the County are maintained by the County.

Thank you for the opportunity and the honor to represent you.  Please let me know if I can help you in any way or if you have questions about these or other issues. Your feedback is meaningful and appreciated.


Tom Young
649-0000 (o)
215-3631 (cell)

P.S. Please visit www.reptomyoung.com for more posts, news, video updates, and, if you have Twitter, please click here to start following me!

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