Friday was the second anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature health care reform legislation. Today, the Supreme Court begins arguments about whether parts of that law are unconstitutional in a politically-supercharged case that could have far-reaching effects on the 2012 election — not to mention the lives of the millions of Americans who are struggling to pay for health care.
While the courts duke it out, health care reform advocates in the Palmetto State say many benefits of the law have not yet gone into effect or been fully recognized by the beneficiaries. Here’s the link to an op-ed on the subject by Sue Berkowitz of the Appleseed Legal Justice Center and the SC Small Business Chamber of Commerce’s Frank Knapp.
Now on to the headlines:
Embattled DNR chair resigns her post, but will stay on the board - The chairwoman of the board which oversees South Carolina’s Department of Natural Resources has resigned her leadership position amid allegations of lying under oath to a Senate panel earlier this year, but will keep her seat on the board, Palmetto Public Record reported last week. Senators have accused her of giving false testimony to the Senate Fish, Game & Forestry Committee in January about the ouster of former DNR Director John Frampton.
Tourism spending up $1 billion in SC - Tourism spending increased about $1 billion in South Carolina during 2010 as the state emerged from the depths of the financial crisis, according to the Associated Press’ Bruce Smith. Figures from the state Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism show that tourism was up almost 8 percent as the state recovered from 2009, once of the worst tourism seasons in years.
DHEC chief’s salary request denied - The Department of Health and Environmental Control’s new director won’t get the $180,000 annual salary she requested, according to The State’s Sammy Fretwell. The move comes as the DHEC director hires four new advisers at DHEC, costing the agency about $400,000 annually.
Change to property tax law stimulates some real estate deals - Large commercial real estate deals are already benefiting from changes to South Carolina’s property tax laws approved in 2011, while the impact on second-home sales has been limited, according to the Charleston Post & Courier’s David Slade. However, critics say the laws take more money away from local governments and schools.
Small business tax cut shrinks gov’t, but doesn’t help small businesses - The SC House GOP proposed tax cut for small businesses will cost South Carolina’s General Fund $60 million per year while generating no economic development benefits, John Ruoff writes for Palmetto Public Record. The advocates for this change at the SC Small Business Chamber of Commerce say they want equity with big businesses.