It’s been an honor bringing you news and analysis on fiscal politics in South Carolina for nearly eight years. On October 15, The Carolina Ledger will close. I have enjoyed writing about the fiscal issues that matter to South Carolinians. Thank you for following the money with us since 2011.
Keep reading for a roundup of the top eight stories we covered during the past eight years.
8) Tax reform
A special state House committee to study and to advise the Legislature on restructuring the state’s sprawling tax code has been meeting since 2016. Updating the code to conform with federal tax law, a task legislators are mulling this year, and streamlining the state’s more than 70 exemptions are part of the committee’s work.
7) Higher education spending
State universities have hiked tuition repeatedly over the past decade, saying cuts in state funding haven’t fully recovered to pre-recession (2008) levels. Meanwhile, many schools have increased facilities construction to draw a growing out-of-state student population.
6) Public school spending and outcomes
5) Officials reduce $21 B pension debt
Officials have made strides in narrowing the state’s more than $20 billion pension debt, including passing a 2017 law to increase contributions by employees and employers. Legislators have tinkered with the idea of freezing new entrants to the system, enrolling them instead in a 401(k) type of retirement plan.
4) Ethics reform and the Statehouse corruption probe
3) V.C. Summer nuclear project fails
Two utilities announced in 2017 they would abandon two nuclear reactors after spending $9 billion on them and charging customers at least $2 billion in rate hikes.
2) Reviewing the impact of the Affordable Care Act on South Carolina
1) The gas tax hike
After a controversial path to passage, a 2017 law increased the state’s then-16.75 cents-a-gallon gas tax by two cents annually for six years.