The Buzz

A blog from The State's political team of Cassie Cope, Jamie Self and Andy Shain. Email tips to

MORNING BUZZ: SC economy on the upswing at halfway point

02/17/2014 5:10 AM

12/21/2014 6:09 PM

Now that the January numbers are in, South Carolina's fiscal year is more than half over.

How are we doing?

Overall, tax collections are up 3.2 percent over last year.

That means so far, South Carolina has collected about $138 million more in tax money this year than it did over the same time period last year.

What's driving that growth? Here are a few charts to help explain:

More people are working:

Which means people are making more money:

It's been a rocky few years, but the trend is moving up.

People making more money means two things:

They pay more in state income taxes (boosted in part by $15.8 million in state taxes paid by last year's $399.4 million Powerball winner):

And they have more money to spend, so they buy more things:

Overall, South Carolina'a tax collections are up 3.2 percent for the year, about the same as other southeastern states.

Top Clicks

Students of change : Students on both the College of Charleston and Medical University of South Carolina campuses don’t think their views have not been reflected in the movement toward combining their schools into the state’s third large research university. Plus, could there be Cougar football in the future if the schools combine? Full story

Check ethics off the list? : The S.C. Senate made relatively quick work in passing bills to restructure state government and allow guns in bars. Can it do the same with ethics reform? Plus, The Buzz's best actors and act of the week and whom Hillary Clinton backers are courting in Columbia this week ahead of her expected 2016 presidential run. Full story

Whole lotta of shaking going on : Two days after a magnitude 4.1 earthquake near Edgefield that was felt in several states, a 3.2 aftershock was reported in the same area on Sunday afternoon. There were no immediate reports of damage in either quake. Full story

History coming this year : A record seven African-American candidates are running for statewide office in 2014. Some could be eliminated in June’s primary elections, but it appears at least three black candidates will make it to November’s general election. South Carolina also is assured to elect its first African-American candidate in a statewide race since Reconstruction in one U.S. Senate race, where all three of the announced candidates are black. Full story

C of C boss says stop rumor mongering on search : The chairman of the College of Charleston’s trustees asked for an end to speculation about the search for a new leader after reports Friday that Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell was not among the list of top finalists to succeed outgoing President George Benson. Full story

Storm Clicks

More lights coming on : Power outages from last week’s ice and snow storm have dipped to 62,333, the S.C. Emergency Management Division reported Sunday evening. That’s down from the high of 346,000 outages reported at 11 a.m. Thursday. Full story

"I didn't know this was going to be in the same realm as Hugo" : Gov. Nikki Haley said Friday this week's ice and snow storm has devastated parts of South Carolina worse than a hurricane. Full story

We want our bridge fixed : Gov. Nikki Haley says state officials are reviewing the warranty for the Arthur Ravenel Jr. bridge because it has iced over twice in two weeks. Full story

Famed Augusta National tree removed after storm : The Eisenhower Tree, so much a part of Augusta National that not even a sitting U.S. president could have it taken down, was removed from the 17th hole this weekend because of damage from an ice storm, the club said Sunday. Full story

SC Clicks

Autism state aid requests rising : State officials have seen a 14 percent jump in the number of people seeking help for autism because of a change in the official definition of the disorder. Full story

Some scratch for schools : Richland County’s two public school districts would get $8 million more in state money next school year if lawmakers approve Gov. Nikki Haley’s proposed education spending plan. Lexington’s five districts would get an additional $8 million and Kershaw would see a $1.3 million boost. Full story

More signing up for insurance : About 17,000 South Carolinians selected plans on the federal Health Insurance Marketplace in January, boosting the four-month total to 41,300, according to statistics released this week. Full story

No landing for Air Force One museum : An attempt to locate an Air Force One Museum in Horry County made its second touchdown in Myrtle Beach recently, but if its reception here is like that it has had in other cities, you probably don't want to buy tickets just yet. Full story

Land bought with state money being sold : Daimler Trucks North America is selling the 400 acres of undeveloped land near Lake Wylie that it purchased with the help of $2 million from South Carolina. At one time the property was intended to be the location of a 200,000-square-foot office building. Daimler purchased the land near Crowders Creek and Allison Creek in 2008 and, at the time, there was speculation the company might move its headquarters from Portland to the South Carolina. In December the company announced it was expanding operations at its Portland, Ore., headquarters. Full story

State House Clicks

Seeking protection for predators : The most feared sharks in the ocean are being targeted for protection in South Carolina. While great white sharks, monstrous fish with ferocious reputations, increasingly have been documented off the South Carolina coast, they still aren’t common. Two Charleston-area lawmakers want to make sure anglers don’t contribute to the demise of great whites. Full story

Carrying on : Whether South Carolina joins Arizona, Alaska, Wyoming and Vermont and becomes the fifth state to embrace a broad "constitutional carry" law lies first in the hands of the state Senate Judiciary Committee, which plans to take up the issue this week. Full story

Election Clicks

Campaign reaches the Pee Dee : S.C. Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Vincent Sheheen on Saturday made his first 2014 stop in Florence, and accused November gubernatorial opponent Nikki Haley of letting down South Carolinians. Full story

DC Clicks

DeMint says GOP didn't want more blame : Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint says Republican leaders in Congress lifted the debt limit to avoid President Obama’s blame. “The Republican leadership has figured out either they give the president all the money and debt he wants, or he’s going to close the government down and blame it on them,” the former Republican senator from South Carolina said Sunday on CBS’s Face the Nation. Full story

MOX project has $30 billion price tag : A recent study by the Department of Energy has concluded that the MOX project currently under construction at the Savannah River Site may cost up to $30 billion to complete. The news prompted South Carolina's senators to meet with the Department of Energy Secretary last week to figure out ways to bring the costs down. Full story

Buzz Clicks

Gov. Sanford Part II? It's possible : U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford says he has no desire to run for governor of South Carolina again. But all signs point to him being able to if he wanted. And some political watchers say if the 1st District Republican continues to rehabilitate himself, he might even be successful. Full story

Powerball reaches $400 million : Without a Powerball winner this weekend, the prize has climbed to $400 million — one of the largest in U.S. lottery history. More than half of the top 10 prizes in U.S. lottery history have occurred since 2012, according to statistics provided by the Multi-State Lottery Association. That includes a $399.4 million Powerball ticket bought at a Lexington convenience store in September. Full story

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A blog from The State's political team of Cassie Cope, Jamie Self and Andy Shain. Email tips to Follow The Buzz @buzzatthestate. Follow Cassie @cassielcope. Follow Jamie @jamiemself. Follow Andy @andyshain.

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