SC political briefs, August 29

August 29, 2013 

The South Carolina State House


Democrats launch website attacking Haley

The S.C. Democratic Party has launched a new website attacking Republican Gov. Nikki Haley. went live Wednesday morning. It features a black-and-white photo of the governor on top of a manila folder categorizing many criticisms of the Republican’s first term in office.

Republicans are almost sure to respond.

The Republican Party has a section of its official website devoted to Vincent Sheheen, the Democratic state senator from Camden who is likely to be Haley’s challenger next year. Also, the web address is registered to state Republican Party executive director Alex Stroman. A message on that website says it is in “maintenance mode.”

Haley officially announced her re-election campaign on Monday in Greenville. Sheheen is expected to have a similar announcement sometime next month.

Adam Beam

Early-childhood advocates mull private investment for intervention program

A South Carolina early-childhood advocacy group says a new private investment model could mean a quick expansion for a proven early-childhood intervention program and savings for the state.

The Institute for Child Success invited executives from Goldman Sachs, the Chicago-based private investment firm J. B. Pritzker and the Duke Endowment to Columbia on Wednesday to discuss a new investment model called “Pay for Success” and South Carolina’s Nurse Family Partnership Program.

Under the “Pay for Success” model, private investors provide loans for governments to expand social programs with proven records of success – the government repays the loans only if programs meet agreed-upon measures of success, including cost savings.

The model could be used to expand the Nurse Family Partnership program to serve 2,750 more families over three years, said Joe Waters, vice president of the Institute for Child Success. Through the Nurse Partnership, nurses visit the homes of pregnant first-time mothers.

The institute, along with the Duke Endowment and the S.C. Department of Health and Human Services, commissioned a study that said the expansion would require a $21.3 million loan, Waters said. Savings to the state could be used to pay back the loan to investors with added “success” payments.

The investment executives said “Pay for Success” loans currently are funding two U.S. projects – a pre-kindergarten program in Utah and a program in New York aimed at reducing the rate of teens who return to prison after being released from incarceration.

Jamie Self

State closes the books on 2013 fiscal year

South Carolina collected $6.4 billion in state taxes and fees during the fiscal year that ended June 30, $525.1 million more than it collected the previous fiscal year, according to the state comptroller general.

State government agencies spent $6.2 billion. The state’s “Rainy Day” reserve fund increased to $281.5 million, or 5 percent of the prior year’s revenue.

While the comptroller general’s office said the collections represent “improved economic conditions,” it warned the state “has continuing challenges with funding retirement benefits,” facing shortfalls of about $14 billion in future retirement benefits and a $10 billion shortfall in future health benefits for retirees.

Adam Beam

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