State Economists Increase Revenue Forecast

Last week, the South Carolina Board of Economic Advisors (BEA) announced that state budget writers will have an additional $610 million to appropriate when they return to Columbia in the coming weeks to finalize the state’s FY2024-25 budget. Of the $610 million$143 million is recurring revenue that can be used for multiyear expenses while $467 million is nonrecurring revenue that will likely be used on one-time expenses. All told, budget writers have a total of $816 million in recurring revenue and $1.33 billion in nonrecurring revenue at their disposal for the FY2024-25 budget.

The revenue increase was driven largely by better-than-expected corporate income tax collections and investment earnings. Sales tax revenues, income tax revenues, and corporate license fee revenues were also higher than anticipated, albeit at lower levels than corporate income tax collections and investment earnings.

Members of the FY2024-25 budget (H.5100) conference committee will be able to use this additional revenue to iron out differences between the $13.8 billion House and Senate spending plans. Many SC Chamber priorities are included in both versions of the proposed FY2024-25 budget including a reduction in the individual income tax, investments in all facets of the state’s critical infrastructure, funding for technical college scholarships for critical-needs jobs, and teacher pay increases.

Card Payment Solutions Featured On ChamberLink Radio

Derek Kurdupski, Chief Administrative Officer for Card Payment Solutions, will be the Florence Chamber’s guest this weekend on ChamberLink Radio.

We hope you enjoy the conversation this Sunday and encourage you to tune-in every Sunday from 12:00-12:30pm on LIVE 95.3FM in Florence, SC.

This program is brought to you by the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce.

South Carolina Labor Market Update

Last week, the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) released data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) that reveals key facts about South Carolina’s current labor market. This data shows that South Carolina is continuing to experience record levels of employment as the labor force participation rate in April increased to 57.2% which equates to 2,484,243 working or job-searching South Carolinians. In April alone, the number of employed persons increased by 4,810, marking a 32,638-person increase since this time last year.

Conversely, the number of unemployed individuals also increased to 79,793 which includes 1,843 newly unemployed individuals in the month of April. In comparison to this time last year, there are 8,870 more people out of work, bringing the statewide unemployment rate to 3.2 % while the national rate slightly decreased to 3.9%.

More information on the current state of South Carolina’s labor market can be found here.

Gov. McMaster, Other Leaders Mark Major Milestone For Pee Dee Mental Health Facility

Gov. Henry McMaster was among local leaders, state leaders and area business leaders who marked a major milestone for an upcoming mental health facility in the Pee Dee.

The governor was part of a “topping-out” ceremony for the Medical University of South Carolina’s Jean and Hugh K. Leatherman Behavioral Care Pavilion on Wednesday, May 22nd. The ceremony celebrated the finishing of the building’s structure, with the final beam being signed by officials before being placed.

The facility is partially named for the late South Carolina Sen. Hugh Leatherman, who backed the project prior to his death in 2021.

His wife, Jean, was at Wednesday’s ceremony and spoke highly of the process.

The facility is expected to open in October 2025.

For the full story, click here.

Magic City Rollers To Host Bike Rodeo In Partnership With Naturally Outdoors

Join the MCR team for a fun day of finding out what NICA is all about. Come and get information about the upcoming season and enjoy team member led rides down the trail. Skills courses, group rides, a yoga class, and a bike maintenance class.

To see the full flyer, click here.

Leadership Florence Holds Graduation Ceremony

The Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Florence Class of 2024 held a graduation ceremony last Tuesday night at MUSC Health Florence.

The commencement speaker was Stephanie Grosick, Vice President of Business Development with Florence County Economic Development.

Patrice Williams of GE Healthcare was voted Outstanding Participant by the class. 2013 Outstanding Participant Nicole Echols was on hand to present the award.

Congratulations to all the amazing cohorts of Leadership Florence Class of 2024!

To see more photos, click here.

Fellows in Education Holds Graduation

Congratulations to the 2023-24 Class of Fellows in Education as they enjoyed their graduation luncheon on Monday, sponsored by Duke Energy.

The class of 27 local civic and business leaders shared Florence 1 Schools experiences over the last 10-months to witness and share a behind the scenes look into several F1S schools. It was an opportunity to see firsthand what is occurring in the district each day as we educate our children.

Fellows In Education is a joint program between Florence 1 Schools, the School Foundation and the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce.

This year’s class included the following individuals:

Charlie Abbott, Kirby Anderson, Amber Bendle, Swapna Bharadwaj, Stephanie Bishop, Jason Cox, Brian Davison, David Fountain, Brittney Gadd, GE Hinson, Celeste Johnson, Thomas Kennedy, Rachel Lane, Chaquez McCall, Chief Thomas McFadden, Carolyn Pearce, Dr. Justin Pearson, Jennifer Powers, Temple Robinson, Gregg Robinson, Melissa Scott, Alyssia Smith, Kyle Srimoungchanh, Malorie Steadman, Brad White, Kevin Yokim

To see more photos, click here.

656 New Homes Are Coming To Subdivisions In West And South Florence

The Florence Planning Commission greenlit 656 homes in two separate subdivisions in west and south Florence as the city continues to grow.

The commission approved a plan for a 365-home subdivision off of Bannockburn Road at its May 14 meeting. It also approved the expansion of a subdivision off of Hoffmeyer Road. That expansion paves the way for another 291 homes.

The 365-home subdivision, named Bruce Tract Homes, sits on a 137-acre parcel of agricultural land. The city recently annexed the property at the corner of Bannockburn Road and Green Acres Road.

Derek Johnston, a planner with the city, said the homes would be mostly on 6,000-square foot lots. They will be single-family detached homes.

The commission also approved the expansion of Magnolia Farms, a previously-approved subdivision bounded by Hoffmeyer Road and Anderson Farms Road.

To read the full story, click here.

St. Anthony Catholic School Students Shine In National Spanish Language Competition

Five St. Anthony Catholic School students demonstrated excellence on the 2024 National Spanish Exam (NSE) and secured gold, silver, and bronze medals. Alex Finianos and Eli Seif secured gold medals, Oliver Thomas secured a silver medal, and Bianka Acaylar and Gia Hieshetter secured bronze medals. The achievement of earning a medal on the National Spanish Exam is a testament to the dedication and hard work of these students.

To read the full press release, click here.

Sword of Truth Cuts Ribbon On Chamber Membership

Bishop Brown along with family, attendees and Chamber Ambassadors cut their ribbon joining the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce.

The Sword of Truth (SOT) was established in 2007 by Pastor R. Chris Brown (he would later become “Bishop” Brown) and his wife, (Lady) Trena Brown. At its start, the ministry was concerned with the restoration and equipping of those in need in Marlboro County. A nonprofit extension, O2PS (Operation Outreach Processed Systems) was established in 2009 to provide programs that answered those needs. O2PS was re-branded as The W.I.N. (Walking Into Newness) Agency in 2013. The mission of the W.I.N. Agency is to be a multifaceted, problem-solving organization that equips members of our community with the tools to build sustainable, healthy lives. In 2016, SOT Enterprises was established to provide a legal structure for several for-profit ventures designed to provide not only jobs, but a revenue stream to sustain our numerous outreach programs.

In June 2022 Bishop Brown wanted to re-locate The Sword of Truth to Florence, SC. In February 2024, they acquired the building on 1125 W. Evans Street, Florence SC. Now The Sword of Truth has its’ foot firmly planted in the city of Florence.

To read the full story, click here.