County Health Rankings Released

The annual County Health Rankings will be released on March 29th. The health of nearly all counties in the nation is measured and then ranked within the states. The rankings are compiled using county-level measures from a variety of national and state data sources. This valuable tool enables you to view an overview and comparison of South Carolina's counties complete with downloads of relative documents dating back to 2010.

The rankings are based on a model of population health that emphasizes the many factors that, if improved, can help make communities healthier places to live, learn, work and play. Building on the work of America's Health Rankings, the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute has used this model to rank the health of Wisconsin’s counties every year since 2003. 

City of Columbia Employees Participate in Poverty Disaster Simulation

Poverty Disaster Simulation

On February 3rd, City of Columbia employees were invited to participate in a poverty simulation to help people better understand the complicated life one lives when in poverty. The event was coordinated by the American Bar Association and held at the South Carolina Bar Conference Center. Members of the Columbia legal community were also in attendance including students and faculty and staff from the University of South Carolina School of Law.

The simulation lasted 2.5 hours and was broken up into five “weeks,” with each week lasting approximately 15 minutes. Attendees were given character profiles which included their character’s name and a brief backstory of their experiences. They were then broken into teams, or "families", and had the goal of meeting their families’ most basic needs. Volunteers took on roles as bank representatives, social service workers, day-care providers, legal aid attorneys, grocers and employers, all offering services or goods the families needed to survive.

The following video highlights the simulation in February, and more detailed information can be found in this article.

2017 VITA Awareness Day

March 15, 2017, is VITA Awareness Day. Each year, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program puts billions of dollars back in the pockets of low-income taxpayers nationwide. In 2015, CFED launched their first-ever VITA Awareness Day to call attention to the importance of VITA programs in the communities they serve. CFED has engaged partners and advocates, like SCACED, across the country to help raise the profile of community tax preparation.

Below are some interesting data points that CFED has shared in regards to VITA programs in South Carolina. During the 2015 filing season alone, they:

  • Stimulated the local economy by helping taxpayers receive $39,589,030 in tax refunds – which will be recirculated in the state
  • Filed more than 39,288 federal tax returns and 39,685 state tax returns
  • Helped hard-working families file 8,842 Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) claims for a total of $12,030,053 – and in the process, given that the average EITC tax filer spends $400 on tax preparation, saved low-income EITC taxpayers approx. $3,536,800 that would have otherwise been spent on paid tax preparers
  • Helped 3,746 struggling families receive a total of $4,617,146 to offset childcare expenses and better support their children

The CFED believes that promoting community tax preparation is especially important in South Carolina since Senator Tim Scott sits on the Senate Finance committee that is instrumental to advancing federal VITA legislation. To support these efforts, you can contact Senator Scott and encourage him to co-sponsor S. 193, the VITA bill that would increase access to VITA services for low-income and under-served populations.

Member Survey

Local, regional and national corporations and foundations are looking to SCACED and its members to form strategic and ongoing partnerships within the Community Economic Development (CED) industry which provide innovative and sustainable solutions for low-wealth communities in South Carolina. As such, we often receive inquiries regarding our member organizations’ programs, services and geographic areas.

Access to capital and increasing organizational capacity are benefits of SCACED membership, and we are actively working to foster collaboration between our members and strategic partners. Therefore, we have created a member survey which will help us to more accurately define your work, the services you provide and your geographic area. Our hope is that this will result in more opportunities for you to build sustainable relationships with financial partners.

In order to provide the most accurate data for what categories your organization fits, we ask that all members complete the following survey with your up-to-date organization information. Even better, those who complete the survey will be eligible to win one (1) of two (2) complimentary registrations for the Opportunity SC 2017 Conference in Myrtle Beach, SC, from September 13-15th (a $275 value)*.

Start the Survey
The survey should take no more than 8 minutes.

*Two (2) complimentary registrations are available. Only one (1) entry per active SCACED member organization. Prizes cover only the Opportunity SC 2017 Conference registration. Winners are responsible for both travel to and from the Opportunity SC 2017 Conference and accommodations at the Opportunity SC 2017 Conference. Must complete the Member Program Data Survey and Survey Registration to be eligible. Completed surveys and entries must be submitted no later than Sunday, March 26. Winners will be announce on Wednesday, March 29, 2017. Winning prizes have no cash value. Prizes are transferable. Good luck!

Please email Kenley@scaced.org if you have any questions. Thank you so much for your participation. Not a SCACED member? Learn more about member benefits.

Community Development Tax Credit Bills Introduced

The top priority of SCACED's 2017 Public Policy Agenda is to pass new community development tax credit legislation in South Carolina, so we are thrilled to announce that the bill has been introduced in each of the chambers. Senate Bill S.412 gives a 100% tax credit, and House Bill H.3842 has a tax credit of 33%. We ask that everyone take a moment to message Senator Paul Campbell and Representative Gary Simrill to thank them for their leadership in increasing economic development in our state.

For the past 23 years, SCACED has advocated for policies to advance the community economic development industry in South Carolina. Our landmark legislative success was the passage of the SC Community Economic Development Act. This law has set the stage for attracting capital to low-wealth communities and unleashing the innovation that exists in our communities.  We now seek to improve upon the SC CED Act with legislation that will expand and improve the SC Community Development Tax Credit.

The new legislation will increase the community development tax credit from 33% to 100%, increase the annual amount of tax credits from $1 million to $5 million and expand the eligibility of financial institutions to use the tax credits for targeted investments in low wealth communities. This means that an investment in a certified community development corporation (CDC) or community development financial institution (CDFI) will benefit the investor by allowing them a 100% credit against their state income, bank, corporate tax or premium tax liability. This is a powerful incentive to attract private capital into low-wealth communities through certified non-profits.

 Senate Bill S.412 will increase economic development by:

  • Increasing the tax credit from 33% to 100% creating an even greater incentive for private capital to flow into low-wealth communities.
  • Increasing the amount of credits available statewide from one million dollars annually to five million dollars annually.
  • Ensure the equitable distribution of tax credits by stipulating that a portion of the tax credits (25%) be available to small rural-based CDC’s during the first three quarters of each tax year.
  • Expanding eligibility to all banks and financial institutions that operate in SC rather than just those chartered here. This will improve the likelihood of investments in CDC’s and CDFI’s.

House Bill H.3842 will accomplish all of the above, with the exception of the tax credit remaining at 33%.

  • Additional Amendments: Unused tax credits will no longer be carried forward, so the program is capped at $5M per year. However, individual taxpayers will continue to be allowed to carry forward tax credits for up to ten years when those credits exceed the taxpayer’s tax liability for a given year.

House Bill H.3842 is currently in the SC House Ways and Means Committee.  Please contact your representative and ask them to sign on as a co-sponsor of the legislation.  You may find your representative by clicking here and entering in your zip code.  Additionally, please contact members of the SC House Ways and Means Committee and ask them to vote in favor of the H.3842. You can access information on members of the SC House Ways and Means Committee below by clicking the links below.

SC House Ways and Means Committee

White, W. Brian, Chairman

Simrill, J. Gary, 1st V.C.

Cobb-Hunter, Gilda, 2nd V.C.

Anthony, Michael A. "Mike"

Bales, Jimmy C., Ed.D.

Ballentine, Nathan

Clemmons, Alan D.

Clyburn, William "Bill"

Cole, J. Derham, Jr.

Erickson, Shannon S.

Finlay, Kirkman, III

Hayes, Jackie E. "Coach"

Herbkersman, William G. "Bill"

Hosey, Lonnie

Huggins, Chip

Loftis, Dwight A.

Lowe, Phillip D.

Merrill, James H.

Pitts, Michael A.

Smith, G. Murrell, Jr.

Smith, Garry R.

Sottile, F. Michael "Mike"

Stavrinakis, Leonidas E. "Leon"

Whitmire, William R. "Bill"

Senate Bill S.412 is currently in the SC Senate Finance Committee. You may find your senator by clicking here and entering in your zip code. You can access information on members of the SC Senate Finance Committee below by clicking the links below. Please contact members of the SC Senate Finance Committee and ask them to vote in favor of the S.412.

SC Senate Finance Committee Members

Leatherman, Hugh K., Sr., Chairman

Setzler, Nikki G.

Peeler, Harvey S., Jr.

Courson, John E.

Matthews, John W., Jr.

Reese, Glenn G.

Alexander, Thomas C.

Grooms, Lawrence K. "Larry"

Verdin, Daniel B. "Danny", III

Cromer, Ronnie W.

Jackson, Darrell

Williams, Kent M.

Campbell, Paul G., Jr.

Davis, Tom

Nicholson, Floyd

Sheheen, Vincent A.

Martin, Shane R.

Scott, John L., Jr.

Allen, Karl B.

Gregory, Chauncey K.

Bennett, Sean M.

Corbin, Thomas D. "Tom"

Hembree, Greg