Fighting utility rate hikes – Duke Energy Progress, which serves 13 counties in northeast South Carolina, proposed a 12.1% rate hike on small businesses. The Public Service Commission will hold a hearing in January 2023. SCSBCC has intervened to oppose the massive rate hike. SCSBCC has a long successful history of intervening in utility cases before the PSC since 2002.
Educating small business owners on federal Health Insurance Marketplace – The SCSBCC continues its outreach to small business owners across the state to let them know about affordable and quality health insurance opportunities through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace. The SCSBCC is partnering with the SC Primary Health Care Association to help small business owners and their employees successfully address their health insurance needs through the Affordable Care Act.
Supporting expanding Medicaid – The SCSBCC is working with a coalition, Close the Gap SC, working to have South Carolina expand Medicaid to cover all with incomes at or below 138% of the federal poverty level. Only 12 states have not expanded Medicaid with federal financial assistance. Hundreds of thousands of South Carolinians are not eligible for Medicaid under the state’s criteria and also make too little to qualify for premium assistance in the federal Health Insurance Marketplace. Most of the South Carolinians that fall in this coverage gap work for small businesses that cannot afford to offer group health insurance.
Leading effort better use ARPA funds already received for small business growth – The SCSBCC is advocating that $250 million the state has received from the federal American Rescue Plan Act be used for startup and micro loans in underserved and rural communities. The loans would be made through the state’s Community Development Financial Institutions.
Advocating for small business growth – The SCSBCC is leading a national campaign, Reform the SBA, to address the nation’s 40-year low in new business startups. The campaign is advocating for the SBA to start making direct, small dollar startup and micro loans in underserved and rural communities, especially to entrepreneurs of color and women, because other lenders will not make such loans because they are too small and too risky.
Supporting voting reforms in Congress – In 2022, the SCSBCC directed a national campaign, Business for Democracy, of the American Sustainable Business Network to build small business coalitions in eight states to educate votes about the need to protect democracy. The Congressional voting rights reform efforts supported were the Electoral Count Reform Act (which was enacted in December 2022), the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. SCSBCC will continue to support the latter two reforms. A strong democracy is critical to a vibrant entrepreneurial economy.