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Columbia Business Monthly

The Business Narrative: Tax Rate Decrease

Nov 28, 2023 10:24AM ● By Donna Walker

Governor, DEW Executive Director Announce 2024 Tax Rate Cuts for South Carolina Businesses


Gov. Henry McMaster and S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) Executive Director William Floyd announced that South Carolina’s unemployment insurance (UI) tax rates will decrease or remain the same for all employers in 2024.


This is the third year in a row that the agency, the General Assembly, and the governor have been able to lower UI business taxes due to, state officials say, diligent planning and a robust economy.


“There is no better time to be in business in South Carolina. The state’s leadership has worked hard to make strong financial decisions that maintain a healthy unemployment insurance trust fund which will benefit employers in the coming year,” McMaster said.


He added, “With a growing economy, a stable trust fund balance, and lower business tax, South Carolina proves once again that it is the ideal destination for business development and success.”


With a fully solvent and resilient UI Trust Fund balance of nearly $1.6 billion, South Carolina:


* Set the 2024 tax rates to raise approximately the same level of revenue as 2023 and 2022.


* Lowered rates for rate classes 2-19 by an average of 6 percent compared to 2023 levels; rates for classes 1 and 20 are set by statute and do not change from year to year.


* Will not require any solvency surcharge due to the sufficiently high trust fund balance.


“Strong economic and wage growth have played a crucial role in maintaining our trust fund balance above the required threshold,” said Floyd.


Floyd added, “Our agency is committed to building the workforce, facilitating job placement, and supporting employers. Our unemployment rate has steadily declined and now matches the low 2.9 percent rate of February 2020. And we have a record number of people working in South Carolina with one of the fastest growing labor forces in the country.”


DEW conducts an extensive analysis of factors such as the economy, the current state of the UI Trust Fund, projected unemployment rates, and estimated benefit payments and the revenue needed to pay these benefits to determine tax rates.


Although tax rates for most tax classes are lower than their 2023 levels, individual businesses may still move between classes based on their unemployment claim activity, according to state officials.


All businesses with charges against their accounts are provided a “charge statement” quarterly to review and have 30 days to protest any charges that they do not believe should be on their account.


Tax rate notices will be mailed to businesses on Monday, November 13, but as of Friday, November 3, employers can log into their State Unemployment Insurance Tax System (SUITS) account to see their 2024 tax rate.


State officials say lower taxes are not the only way that the state is helping businesses.


The officials say the Statewide Education and Workforce Development Act, passed earlier this year, will improve the state’s responsiveness to industry needs by aligning workforce development activities and providing real-time labor market information and analysis to drive workforce decisions.


To provide the best workforce information and analysis possible, employers will begin submitting Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes for each employee and the number of hours the employee worked as part of the quarterly wage reports submitted through DEW’s tax system, SUITS.  


A SOC code is a statistical standard used to classify workers into the specific category that best matches their job.


This information must be supplied on the 1st quarter 2024 wage reports, due by April 30, 2024. DEW encourages employers to begin entering SOC codes in the fourth quarter of 2023 since that information will be saved in SUITS for future quarters.


Ben Homeyer, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, said after McMaster’s announcement that "High taxes are a perennial problem for small businesses, so today's announcement is welcome news. The less businesses have to pay in unemployment insurance taxes, the more revenue they'll have to grow their businesses and hire more people."


Click here to view the 2024 tax rate chart. 


Go to to learn more about SOC codes.








American Airlines Supports Confirmation of Michael Whitaker to FAA


American Airlines was among those expressing support for U.S. Senate confirmation of Michael Whitaker as administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration.


“It is essential for the FAA to have a permanent, qualified leader and we commend the United States Senate for unanimously approving Michael Whitaker’s nomination with robust bipartisan support,” said American’s CEO Robert Isom.


Isom added, “Mr. Whitaker is the right person at the right time to lead the FAA into the next generation of aviation. His sterling qualifications in the industry and robust experience as a former FAA Deputy Administrator will be invaluable as the FAA modernizes our nation’s aviation system and maintains the highest levels of safety across the industry. We congratulate Mr. Whitaker on his confirmation and look forward to continuing our positive working relationship with the FAA leadership team.”


In September, President Biden announced his intent to nominate Whitaker to serve as FAA Administrator.


Whitaker was chief operating officer of Supernal, a Hyundai Motor Group company designing an electric advanced air mobility (AAM) vehicle. In that role, Whitaker oversaw all commercial and key business operations.


Whitaker served as Deputy Administrator at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) from 2013–2016. There, he brought industry and government together to drive the successful transition of the nation’s air traffic control system from radar to a satellite-enabled surveillance technology (ABS-B).


Prior to Supernal and his tenure at the FAA, Whitaker served as Group CEO of InterGlobe Enterprises, India’s largest travel conglomerate and operator of its largest and most successful airline, IndiGo. There, he oversaw strategy and operations for four affiliate travel companies.


Whitaker also spent 15 years at United Airlines in a variety of roles as director, vice president and senior vice president. His broad portfolio at the airline included commercial alliances and joint ventures, international and regulatory affairs, and strategic counsel to the Chairman and CEO on international matters.


Whitaker began his more than three-decade aviation career as a litigator, then as Assistant General Counsel of international and regulatory affairs at Trans World Airlines (TWA).


He is a private pilot and holds a juris doctorate degree from Georgetown University Law Center. He serves on the board of the Flight Safety Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes aviation safety globally.




Veterans And Scams

As we approach Veterans Day, we thank our veterans for their service and sacrifice. But not everyone has a vet’s best interests in mind.


Whether you left the service decades ago or you’re planning your transition to civilian life, scammers will try to get you to send money or share personal information.


Scammers also want to get their hands on the valuable benefits you earned through military service. What are some ways to know you’re dealing with a scammer?


First, according to the Federal Trade Commission, know how scammers operate. Imposter scams come in many varieties but they work the same way: scammers call, text, email, or reach out over social media and pretend to be someone you trust to convince you to send them money. 


Scammers may pretend to be from a government agency and say you need to pay a fine. Or they may pose as an online love interest who needs you to send money for an expensive medical procedure.


The scammer may offer you a job, too, but say you need to pay a fee before you get hired. Scammers may claim to have some affinity with the military to gain your trust so you won’t dig too deep into what they’re saying.


Second, know how scammers ask you to pay. No matter what the story is, only scammers will insist that the only way you can pay is by cash, gift card, cryptocurrency, payment app, or a wire transfer service. 


These methods make it almost impossible to get your money back, which is why scammers insist you pay that way. Stop. Don’t pay.


FTC officials say that one way to recognize Veterans Day on Nov. 11 is to share the advice about avoiding scams and encourage the veterans you know to sign up for the latest updates to stay a step ahead of scammers.






Meet the Winner of the 2023 American Humane Hero Dog Awards


American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization, on Nov. 6, 2023, unveiled the winner of the 13th annual American Humane Hero Dog Awards.


Maverick, a 150-pound European Blue Great Dane in the Therapy Dogs category — which is sponsored by The Brady Hunter Foundation — claimed the coveted title.


The American Humane Hero Dog Awards is a nationwide competition that searches for and recognizes America’s standout dogs in five categories: Therapy Dogs; Service and Guide Dogs; Military Dogs; Law Enforcement and First Responder Dogs; and Shelter Dogs.


Law enforcement canine Poppy — a five-year-old black Labrador from Columbia, S.C. — was named one of the four finalists. Poppy protects students and faculty as a member of the University of South Carolina (USC) Police Department.


Beginning in April, Americans nominated hundreds of inspiring dogs from across the country and from there, five semi-finalists in each of the five categories were chosen to meet the American public.


After a competitive public voting process, the field of 25 was whittled down to five four-legged finalists. The winner, therapy dog Maverick, was then selected by a blue-ribbon judging panel.


Maverick and the four other finalists will be honored at the 13th annual American Humane Hero Dog Awards and Gala in Palm Beach on Nov. 10, a star-starred awards show that will be hosted by Christie Brinkley and Carson Kressley.


The event is presented by Lois Pope and the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation and will be nationally televised on A&E on Nov. 26.


“We are so excited to name Maverick as American Humane’s 2023 Hero Dog, a distinction that is well-deserved for him and his handler Kelly,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane.


Ganzert added “The duo has worked tirelessly to bring comfort and solace to our nation’s military heroes through the United Service Organizations (USO), all while they both were facing their own internal battles against cancer. It’s these types of incredible stories about sacrifice, perseverance, and compassion that this award aims to spotlight.”


2023 Hero Dog Maverick and his handler Kelly Brownfield first met in 2016. There was an instant bond with the then 12-week-old puppy, who immediately ran up to her and nuzzled into her chest as if he was meant to be there.


Kelly, who had previous therapy dogs, spent the first year rigorously training Maverick, which helped him pass his therapy dog certification test with flying colors in 2017.


Since then, the duo has invested their time and talents with the USO, helping to bring comfort to military families.


Maverick uplifts the spirits of the military community stationed at the Fort Leonard Wood post in Missouri, where he supports service members on suicide watch, escorts children to military funerals for their parents, and helps men and women cope with trauma, injuries, and stress.


Kelly and Maverick have completed 55 “special mission” requests this year alone.

Maverick has also been by Kelly’s side throughout her ongoing battle with cancer — a disease that Maverick himself has successfully fought.


The four other finalist dogs include:


Buda (Oceanside, California): Military working dog Buda — a four-year-old German shorthaired pointer — serves our country as one of only 18 certified explosives-detection canines in the U.S. Coast Guard. Buda and his canine handler, Maritime Enforcement Specialist Chase Leamer, work together to protect their local community both on the water and on land.


Since graduating from his elite training program in 2021, Buda has participated in over 185 operational deployments and engagements. His work includes responding to bomb threats, performing safety sweeps of sea vessels, providing security at events like Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles, and more. The hero dog is even trained to be hoisted in and out of helicopters.


Poppy (Columbia, South Carolina): Poppy is an award-winning explosives and firearms detection dog who serves alongside her handler, Sgt. Mark Tevepaugh. Poppy is a regular fixture at school and community events, providing security sweeps, crowd screening, and safety presentations to help empower students.


She can also be found roaming the sprawling USC campus, where she brings smiles and comfort to stressed and homesick college students. When this hero dog is off duty, Poppy loves to spend time at home with her handler’s son.


Raina (Perkasie, Pennsylvania): Emerging hero shelter dog Raina — a 13-year-old Australian shepherd — came into this world blind, deaf, and with a contagious sense of joy. Her owner Kristen Strouse adopted Raina from a shelter when she was six months old. Ever since, the 13-year-old hero dog has served as an advocate for people and pets with special needs.


Raina and Kristen are passionate about using public education, awareness events, and fundraisers to help rescue blind and deaf dogs, who often struggle to find their forever homes. At home, Raina offers comfort and inspiration to Kristen after an autoimmune deficiency forced her into early retirement. Her owner credits Raina with saving her life and keeping her going during that traumatic transition. After a long life, Raina sadly passed away in October.


Moxie (Ballwin, Missouri): Lifesaving service dog Moxie — a five-year-old mini goldendoodle — helped her handler, Katie Harris, find hope and purpose again when a rare disease robbed her of her ability to walk.


Moxie’s has since helped Katie get through countless hospital visits, surgeries, and painful medical episodes. She provides invaluable assistance on a daily basis, performing tasks like picking up dropped items, opening and closing doors, and alerting her handler to low blood pressure and other medical crises. 


During the past 13 years, Americans have cast millions of votes for more than 1,000 dogs, all seeking the coveted title of American Humane Hero Dog.


Hosts, judges, award presenters and entertainment acts have included Jay Leno, Billy Crystal, Betty White, Ariel Winter, Vivica A. Fox, Rebecca Romijn, Alison Sweeney, James Denton, Beth Stern, Faithe Herman, Marcus Scribner, Bindi Irwin, Derek Hough, Richard Marx, Katharine McPhee, Michelle Beadle, Whoopi Goldberg, Denise Richards, Lisa Vanderpump, Chelsea Handler, Martin Short, Jewel, Wilson Phillips, John Ondrasik, Carson Kressley, Miranda Lambert, Pauley Perrette, Kristen Chenoweth, Naomi Judd, Eric Stonestreet, Danica McKellar, Bailee Madison and many more.


Founded in 1877, American Humane has been First to Serve the cause of animals and for 145 years has been at the forefront of virtually every major advance in the humane movement. For more information go to




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