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Unemployment insurance tax rate continues to fall

Travis Boland
  • Travis Boland
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Gov. Henry McMaster announced today the unemployment insurance tax rate will be going down again starting next year. It is the fifth consecutive year the rate has been reduced.

“It’s a reduction of 10.2% in the tax, which equates to about $25 million less paid in by the businesses of South Carolina,” McMaster said.

McMaster held a press conference at the Statehouse with Cheryl Stanton, executive director of the Department of Employment and Workforce, Debbie Varner, CEO and chairman of Recruiting Solutions, Ben Homeyer, National Federation of Independent Business state director, and Mark Nix, executive director of the Homebuilders Association of S.C.

During the Great Recession of 2008, South Carolina borrowed nearly $1 billion from the federal government to provide unemployment benefits. After the loan was paid off in 2015, the state Legislature passed a law requiring the Department of Employment and Workforce to rebuild the trust fund within five years to a level that will fund potential future benefits without borrowing money.

“More than 70,000 businesses are paying less in taxes now than under the old structure,” Stanton said. “That shows how far we have come with this process.”

Varner said the tax reduction will incentivize employers to hire more people, but also invest in capital improvements around the state.

“The growth rate in South Carolina has been nothing short of phenomenal. We’re going right to the top in South Carolina,” McMaster said. “Businesses are growing in the state, entrepreneurs and innovation are on the rise, and big companies from around the world are fascinated with South Carolina. They’re all saying the same thing: This is best place for prosperity and growth in the United States.”

Homeyer was impressed with the responsibility with which the trust fund has been rebuilt and rates have been lowered.

“The numbers show hiring is going on in the state and money is going back into small businesses,” Homeyer said.

Nix said the tax reductions put money back in the pockets of all workers.

“The unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been since 2001, we have the most people employed in the state than we ever had, and taxes just went down,” McMaster said. “That’s a pretty good path to be on.”

Stanton said DEW currently has the new tax structure on its website and the agency will mail the rate structure to businesses next week so they can begin budgeting and planning for 2018.

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