New Anti-Poverty Legislation Aimed at Private Investors

A bipartisan group of congressmen recently introduced a new bill intended to reinvigorate America’s poorest communities. The Investing in Opportunity Act (IOA) will allow investors to temporarily delay paying capital-gains taxes on their investments if they choose to reinvest the money into “opportunity zones” or distressed communities across the country.

The legislation was cosponsored in the Senate by Republican Tim Scott of South Carolina and Democrat Cory Booker of New Jersey, and in the House by Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) and Ron Kind (D-Wisc.).  These congressmen report that their bill has garnered bipartisan support in both chambers, and they believe that its provisions will allow for tremendous economic growth in some of the country’s most underserved communities.


SCAAC Energy Connect -Q&A Session

The Board of Directors of the Chamber cordially invites you to a private luncheon regarding the economic, small business and safety measures of Offshore exploration for oil and natural gas in South Carolina.
This forum is hosted by the South Carolina African American Chamber of Commerce, Explore Offshore South Carolina, the Center for Offshore Safety and the American Petroleum Institute. The event will take place 12:00 noon on July 24th at the Palmetto Club located at 1231 Sumter Street Columbia, SC 29201.


Question and Answer Session of Forum.

How South Carolina can benefit from offshore oil exploration

South Carolinians depend on accessible, affordable energy to fuel our lives.

The decisions we make about our energy resources today lay the foundation for what kind of state we will call home tomorrow.

That is the focus of Explore Offshore SC, a new coalition of community organizations, businesses and local leaders who support access to U.S. offshore resources. I am proud to lead this group and work with other South Carolinians to secure more reliable domestic energy through safe, responsible offshore exploration.

Offshore represents a vast, untapped source of potential energy for meeting our growing energy needs. Unfortunately, 94 percent of America’s offshore acreage is currently off limits to development or even new study.

Read More at The STATE Newspaper

Jobless rates fall for Black Americans

The unemployment rates for black Americans, recent veterans and people in their early 20s fell sharply in February, even as the national jobless rate held steady at 4.1 percent. The rate for African-Americans fell to 6.9 percent, near a record low of 6.8 percent reached in December. Still, the unemployment rate for African-Americans remains stubbornly higher than the rates for other racial and ethnic groups. The unemployment rate for those who have served in the armed forces anytime since September 2001 dropped to 3.3 percent, matching a record low from December.

Younger Americans in their early 20s also enjoyed a good month in the job market. Their jobless rate fell to 6.8 percent, the lowest level since 2000.

Small-business confidence hits record high in 2018 after Trump tax-reform win

Small-business confidence is surging in 2018 as optimism rises among small-business owners about the newly enacted tax-reform package, according to the latest CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey, released Tuesday.
The CNBC/SurveyMonkey Q1 Small Business Confidence Index saw an increase of five points, from 57 to 62, a record high and the largest quarter-to-quarter move the index has seen since CNBC and SurveyMonkey began measuring last year. This is the first survey since President Donald Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law on December 22, 2017.
In the Q4 survey, small-business owners were split evenly on the core question about the effect that tax policy would have on their business. Opinions have shifted significantly: Twice as many now expect changes in tax policy to have a positive rather than negative effect on their businesses. Forty-six percent of those surveyed say tax policy changes will have a positive effect, up from 38 percent in the fourth quarter. The number of those saying tax policy changes will have a negative impact fell sharply, from 36 percent in the fourth quarter to 23 percent in the most recent survey.
Confidence rose among almost all demographic groups, with the largest increases coming from companies with five to nine employees, and small-business owners ages 35–44 and 55–64.
The CNBC/SurveyMonkey data underscores other polling from advocacy groups, including the conservative lobbying group the National Federation of Independent Business. Its latest monthly optimism report for January 2018 showed the second-highest level of sentiment since Trump took office. The report also had its highest yearly average ever in 2017.
“These numbers are historically high,” Juanita Duggan, president and CEO of the NFIB, told CNBC. “This shows small-business owners are more than just optimistic, they are ready to grow their business.”
The National Small Business Association, a nonpartisan lobbying group, also recently released its Year-End Economic Report for 2017, which found that more than half of small-business owners feel the national economy is doing better than it was just six months ago. This is compared to 43 percent who reported the same in December 2016, and only 20 percent in December 2015. In addition, 59 percent said they anticipate economic expansion in the next year, and more than one-third of small-business owners said they felt very confident about the future of their own business, the highest level in more than a decade.
“I think the jump in optimism isn’t just due to tax reform, but largely due to the economy doing better,” said Molly Day, vice president of public affairs for the NSBA. “Certainly, the tax-reform piece is helpful, but in reality I think small businesses are just now starting to digest what it means for their business.”
Health care and hiring remain big challenges
Despite the optimistic outlook, challenges remain on Main Street. Small-business owners are looking to Washington for progress on additional issues, including health-care reform. CNBC and SurveyMonkey found that 30 percent of business owners say they want Congress to tackle health care, with 2 in 10 now reporting the cost of employee health care as the most critical issue facing their business. The NSBA’s data also found the cost of health insurance to be the most significant challenge to the future growth and survival of small firms.
“I think that because of the cost of health care, hiring among the smallest businesses won’t be changed significantly,” Day said. She added that in the NSBA’s opinion, tax reform isn’t done.
“There was a tax cut, but very little was accomplished in terms of small-business parity with larger businesses,” Day contended. “Complexity wasn’t touched at all, and the administrative burdens of federal taxes are actually a bigger problem for small firms than the financial cost of taxes.”

She added: “The growing debt is still a major concern for small-business owners.”
Another key area of concern for small businesses is finding skilled labor. In the NFIB’s data, the quality of labor is now the top issue. Hiring is challenging, and more businesses are raising wages in order to hang on to the workers they have. The NFIB reports worker compensation is at its highest level since 2000.
The CNBC/SurveyMonkey online poll was conducted Jan. 29 through Feb. 5, 2018, among a national sample of 2,080 self-identified small-business owners ages 18 and up, across a wide swath of industries. Respondents were selected from the nearly 3 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day using its online polling methodology. Responses have a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points.
The Small Business Confidence Index is calculated on a scale from 0–100 and is based on the responses to eight key questions. A zero indicates no confidence, and a score of 100 indicates perfect confidence.