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Published on January 25th, 2016 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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Blueprint for a Better South Carolina

Pictured: Stephen Gilchrist Chairman of the South Carolina African American Chamber of Commerce.

The S.C. African American Chamber of Commerce has identified seven major legislative goals for the S.C. Legislature in 2016. The Chamber will work to advance these goals through public advocacy and outreach to the S.C. General Assembly.

“We are pleased to release these agenda items as a continued goal to place emphasis on making South Carolina a competitive place to do business.  It is important that a strong viable workforce, sound common sense educational initiatives and a climate that allows both small and large businesses to flourish is central to our member’s concerns and that of the State.  We are pleased to work with the South Carolina General Assembly, the business community and our Chamber partners all across South Carolina and we look forward to much needed progress on these and other pertinent issues in 2016” , said Stephen Gilchrist Chairman of the South Carolina African American Chamber of Commerce.

The 2016 Legislative agenda of the S.C. African-American Chamber of Commerce

  1. Infrastructure. Find ways to pay for needed improvements to our roads and bridges – even if it means redirecting funding from less-essential areas. The condition of our road system is an important key to the state’s economic viability.
  2. Public schools.Improve our education system across-the-board to ensure that the state’s workforce is viable and that students are prepared for the future. A well-prepared workforce is one key to attracting desirable new industry.
  3. a) Adequate funding for public schools, and equitable funding for schools in the poorer parts of the state
  4. b) Public school alternatives to traditional educational settings – alternatives such as charter schools, magnet programs and virtual-learning programs – empowering parents with more educational options for their children.
  5. c) Adequate technical and vocational opportunities for students entering the workforce directly from high school.
  6. d)Ensuring local school districts are governed fairly, including adequate opportunity for minority representation
  1. A business-friendly environment.Foster a business-friendly environment through a competitive workforce and a competitive tax structure and free from burdensome over-regulation.
  2. a) Better coordinate state workforce development efforts – including K-12 education, skills training and higher education. A well-trained workforce is our most important competitive asset.
  3. b)   Low tax rates, which frees up capital for existing businesses to grow and expand, creating jobs; (Also attractive for companies deciding where to locate and/or expand operations.)
  4. c) Guarding against over-regulation; Over-regulation can consume businesses’ energy and resources and deter existing companies from expanding – and new industry from locating in South Carolina.
  5. d) Creation of a private equity package to ease restrictions of lending institutions for purposes of lending to small businesses.
  1. Tourism. Continue to promote South Carolina as a tourist destination as a means of enhancing the economy. Focus on finding a long-term, balanced, sustainable approach to tourism – promoting tourism for all regions of the state and balancing the economic benefits with our other needs.
  2. Local government funding. Restore aid to subdivisions (the Local Government Fund) to help counties pay for local needs without increasing local taxes. This especially important as counties continue to grapple with pressing infrastructure challenges as a result of the recent historic flooding.
  3. Ethics. Pass ethics reform. South Carolinians mustbe able to have confidence that our elected leaders are putting citizens’ interests first.  (When they’re at their best, state leaders can create a sense of optimism about the direction of our state and inspire their constituents to become personally involved in improving their local communities. But when there’s even the perception that elected leaders fail to live up to the expectations of the people they serve, public trust in government erodes.)  The General Assembly can help restore lost trust by enacting reasonable changes to the state’s ethics laws at the state and local levels.
  4. Workforce.  South Carolina must have a coordinated response to ensure that every citizen who wants employment can obtain employment.  We must continue to invest in training programs and initiatives and place resources into organizations that can meet people where they are to provide this necessary training.

 

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