Veterans Day and State’s Bond Rating — Weekly Legislative Update from Rep. Tom Young – Oct. 25 to Nov. 7, 2011

October 25 to November 7, 2011

The House of Representatives is out of session for 2011 and returns to session on January 10, 2012. Nevertheless, a lot is happening around District 81 and in Columbia. I hope that you find this update helpful and informative:

Veterans Day:  This Friday, November 11, is Veterans Day.  Please join me in thanking our veterans for their service and sacrifices which allow us to enjoy the freedoms and security with which we are blessed in the United States.

Town Meetings Concluded: On October 24, I finished the third of 3 town meetings which I held around the District during the month of October. I appreciate the feedback and ideas from those who attended the meetings. If you could not attend but would like for me to know about an issue important to you, please email me or call me at 215-3631.

State Senate Foreclosure Hearings: The State Senate Banking and Insurance Committee will hold 3 public hearings this week. The media notice stated that homeowners who have faced or are facing foreclosure due to a hardship resulting from the financial crisis will have an opportunity to be heard. Interested homeowners can share the problems and solutions they have experienced. The Committee is interested in possible solutions at the State level to help homeowners in financial distress with their home mortgage. The hearings this week are as follows:

  • Greenville, SC, November 7th, 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Hughes Main Library, 25 Heritage Green Place, Greenville, SC 29601;
  • Columbia, SC, November 8th, 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Capital Senior Center, 1650 Park Circle, Ballroom 2, Columbia, SC 29201; and
  • Charleston, SC, November 10th, 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the International Longshoreman’s Hall, 1142 Morrison Drive, Charleston, SC 29403.

South Carolina’s Bond Ratings: Some constituents have asked me recently about our state’s bond rating. The current bond ratings for South Carolina are as follows:

  • Fitch – AAA, outlook stable
  • Moody’s – Aaa, outlook negative
  • S&P – AA+, outlook stable

Moody’s most recently revised South Carolina’s outlook to negative at the same time that it took similar action for the United States’ sovereign credit rating this past summer. In making this move, Moody’s noted that South Carolina along with Maryland, New Mexico, Tennessee, and Virginia have a higher than normal reliance on federal funds for state budget needs. Hence, the “negative” outlook was assigned since the federal government has credit concerns of its own. I also understand that the bond rating agencies have noted that the unfunded liabilities in a state’s retirement system can affect a state’s credit rating. A very good short article on the link between a state’s credit rating and its economic policies can be seen here.

Roads and Bridges: Since starting to serve in 2009, I have advocated that South Carolina needs a dedicated source of funding for road and bridge improvements. Improving South Carolina’s infrastructure will benefit our state for the long term and provide us with a competitive advantage over other states in our effort to keep existing businesses and to attract new and expanding businesses. A recent interesting article on this issue can be seen here. Discussion on this important issue must include consideration as to whether the State Department of Transportation’s current system of governance with a Board of Commissioners should remain in place.

Blue Ribbon Commission on Nation’s Nuclear Future: Last week, the Aiken County legislative delegation sent a letter to the Blue Ribbon Commission as part of the public comment period on the Commission’s current draft report. The delegation’s letter can be seen here. The Commission is charged with making recommendations to the current Presidential Administration on nuclear issues including the storage, processing, and disposal of civilian and defense spent nuclear fuel and nuclear waste.

Congressional Redistricting Plan Approved: The Department of Justice has given preliminary approval to the Congressional Redistricting Plan. Under the plan, Aiken County will be completely in the 2nd Congressional District currently represented by Congressman Joe Wilson.

Great News Regarding Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce: Congratulations to the Aiken Chamber for receiving a 5 star rating. Out of 10,000 chambers of commerce in the United States, only 85 received this rating.

SRS H-Canyon To Support Plutonium Disposition: The National Nuclear Security Administration recently approved the use of the H-Canyon Complex at the Savannah River Site to provide approximately 3.7 megatons of plutonium oxide feed for the mixed-oxide fuel fabrication facility. About 90 jobs will be retained as a result of the decision.

Feedback Requested — Planning for the 2012 Legislative Session:  The 2012 legislative session will convene on the second Tuesday in January.  I am seeking input from constituents on the critical issues facing our state and area including tax reform; spending reform; K-12 education; the costs of higher education; health care; economic development; job growth; and the underfunded liabilities in our state’s retirement systems.  Your input is welcome on any issue important to you.  Please email me back or contact me by phone or in person at your convenience.

Frequency of Legislative Updates: Over the remaining 2 months of this year, my legislative updates may not come every week. Rather, I will strive to send them every other week.

SCDOT Weekly Update: The Department of Transportation started a weekly update about three months ago to inform the public about what is going on at the agency as to its financial situation and other matters. To see the latest, go here.

One Table Thanksgiving in Aiken: On Thanksgiving Day, many churches and non-profit organizations within greater Aiken are sponsoring a community-wide Thanksgiving celebration called One Table in The Alley in downtown Aiken.  Food will be served at noon.  To learn more, go here:

Speaking to Groups Around the District: Several local groups have invited me to attend one of their meetings to provide an end of session report.  If you have a group that would like for me to come to a meeting during the next couple of months, please let me know.

Help for Displaced SRS Workers: If you or someone you know lost a job at SRS, there is a One-Stop Transition Center open in downtown Aiken at Park Avenue and Laurens Street to assist workers displaced at SRS with finding new work. The Center is open from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday. For more information, visit

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 or at the 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 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.

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 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)

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