Economy

City of Columbia Employees Participate in Poverty Disaster Simulation

City of Columbia Employees participate in 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

The VITA Program

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.

Community Development Tax Credit Bills Introduced

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

2017 Legislative Luncheon Recap

More than 150 members and SC Legislators attended SCACED's Legislative Luncheon held on Wednesday, February 8th, in Columbia. During the event, SCACED unveiled a video illustrating the work of Community Economic Development in South Carolina and showcased the support for the SC Community Development Tax Credit (2017 Public Policy Agenda).

We are excited to share that we are already seeing progress just one week after our Legislative Luncheon. The Community Development Tax Credit legislation was sponsored and introduced by Senator Paul Campbell on February 14th. This legislation aims to increase the tax credits from 33% to 100% and raise the annual limit from $1 million to $5 million annually. View Bill #S.412.
 
Thank you to our network of supporters and please be on the lookout for SCACED Calls to Action regarding this bill. We now invite you to view the video that we unveiled as well as our event photo gallery...
 

SC Community Economic Development VIDEO

 

Legislative Luncheon Photo Gallery

Virtual Southeast Listening and Strategy Session

CFED Expanding Economic Opportunity logo

We’re all navigating significant change as we move into 2017: a new Administration, a new Congress, new state and local policy environments and more. With all that’s at stake, now is the time to map out how we can work together most powerfully to advance economic opportunity at the local, state and federal levels while protecting all the progress that we’ve made so far.

In partnership with the Assets & Opportunity Network Steering Committee, CFED will facilitate virtual listening sessions in eight regions across the country in the first couple of weeks of 2017. SCACED will be hosting the Southeast session on January 5, 2017, which includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi & South Carolina. It will be moderated by SCACED President & CEO, Bernie Mazyck.

Virtual Southeast Listening and Strategy Session
Thursday, January 5th
Noon CST / 1 pm EST

Each Virtual Regional Listening & Strategy Session will last an hour and will include:

  • Peer-to-peer sharing about the risks facing vulnerable families, state and local policy priorities and lessons learned about which strategies are most effective in achieving progress.
  • Updates on CFED’s perspectives on federal policy challenges and the opportunities we see to drive our collective strategies forward.
  • Discussion about opportunities for organizations and individuals to engage at local, regional or federal levels.
  • The chance to voice which types of support would be most valuable to you as you work to create opportunity in your state or community. 

These Virtual Regional Listening & Strategy Sessions are open to anyone committed to creating a more equitable economy. All sessions will take place via interactive conference call.

It is more important now than ever that we work together to make economic opportunity a reality for all. Your participation in these sessions is vital as we chart a new course. We encourage organizations that are working to empower all U.S. families to become more financially secure to join the session for your region.

Questions? Email Fran Rosebush Baylor, Director of Field Engagement, atfrosebush@cfed.org.