Budget Passed – Vetoes Forthcoming — Weekly Legislative Update from Rep. Tom Young – June 26, 2012 to July 2, 2012

The House of Representatives met last Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in special session. I hope that you find the following information helpful and informative:

Happy Independence Day!:  I hope that you and your family enjoy the July 4th holiday and reflect on how blessed that we are to live in the United States of America.  If you are in Aiken, there is a community July 4th celebration starting at 5:00 pm on Wednesday at the Gaston Livery and Aiken Veteran’s Park on Richland Avenue.  The event is free and open to the public.

Last Week’s Legislative Session

State Budget:  Last week, the budget conference committee reached an agreement on the state budget.  A major issue dividing the conferees was a $60 Million tax cut for small businesses in the State.  The agreement reached was to phase in the tax cut over 3 years at $20 Million per year while the state tax rate on small businesses is reduced from 5% to 3%.  The budget includes the full $300 Million necessary to fund the Charleston Harbor deepening project which is critical to the expansion of the Port of Charleston; $77 Million in unemployment insurance tax relief for businesses; $30 Million additional funds to local governments compared to last year’s allocation; pay raises for state employees; and an increase in the base student cost for public education by more than $200 per student.  Governor Haley is expected to issue her vetoes in the next few days.

Continuing Resolution:  Both the House and the Senate passed a Continuing Resolution to fund state government after the July 1 start of the fiscal year while Governor Haley is given the required time to review the budget and issue any vetoes.  Governor Haley signed the Continuing Resolution into law on Thursday afternoon.

Supreme Court and President Obama’s Health Care Act:  On Thursday morning by a vote of 5-4, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the health care law championed by President Obama.  The Court’s decision is based on the health care law requirements and expansion being within the authority of Congress to tax – not to regulate interstate commerce. Also, the Court struck down a provision in the law penalizing states for refusing to expand Medicaid eligibility.  This part of the decision is critical to South Carolina state government because our state’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) predicted that mandating the expansion of Medicaid in South Carolina will grow government spending by more than $2 Billion in state dollars and another $6 Billion in federal dollars by 2020. DHHS has provided the following facts about current Medicaid spending in South Carolina:

  • S.C.’s Medicaid program covers 1 million of our 4.6 million residents.
  • Medicaid currently costs $5.9 billion a year (30% paid for by SC; 70% by the feds). That’s 25% of the entire state budget of more than $23 billion.
  • Mandatory expansion of Medicaid under President Obama’s health care law will add another 500,000 South Carolinians to the program.

Restructuring – Elimination of the Budget and Control Board: This legislation is dead for the year as the Senate was unable to take it up this past week even though the House already passed the compromise reached by the bill’s conference committee.  That is a real shame considering the significance of this bill’s importance to our state and the amount of time that so many people put into getting it so very close to final passage.

Senate Campaign Update

Senate Campaign:  We have picked up the petitions located in the many businesses around the county.  Nevertheless, my petitions remain located at the following businesses until July 10 because we cannot have too many signatures:

Aiken Locations

  • Tom Young Allstate Office – 1743 Whiskey Road, Aiken
  • Tom Young Law Office – 409 Park Avenue SW, Aiken

Print the Petition, Sign, and Return Before July 10:  If you prefer, you can also (1) print the petition attached here in your home or office, (2) sign it; (3) write your name, address, date of birth, precinct, and voter registration number; and (4) return it by July 10 to one of the following locations:

  • Tom Young Allstate Office – 1743 Whiskey Road, Aiken
  • Tom Young Law Office – 409 Park Avenue, Aiken
  • BY MAIL:  Tom Young, PO Box 651, Aiken, SC  29802

THANK YOU!:  Thank you to everyone who has helped in my campaign’s petition drive to remain on the ballot for the November 6 election for State Senate.

Other Topics of Interest

No Email Update Next Week:  I do not plan to send a legislative email update next week during the week of July 9.

End of Session Town Meetings:  Like the past three years, I plan to hold end of session town meetings around the district.   Based on constituent requests, I will hold those after the summer vacation season ends.  The dates, times, and locations will be provided in future updates.

SC Traveler Newsletter:  The S.C. National Heritage Corridor sent an email last week with things to do in our state during the coming weeks. To see it, go here.

Constituent Information

Speaking with Groups Around the District: Several local groups have invited me to attend one of their meetings to provide a legislative update.  If you have a group that would like for me to come to a meeting, please let me know.

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

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 website can be reached at www.tomyoungforsenate.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 set a tour between January and June and it is on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, please let me know so I can do my best 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 get them, 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 tom@tomyoungforsenate.com 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

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