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SC’s unemployment tax rate won’t go up in 2022, McMaster says

Published: Nov. 4, 2021 at 10:11 AM EDT|Updated: Nov. 4, 2021 at 12:39 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - Gov. Henry McMaster and state employment officials announced Thursday the state’s unemployment tax rate for employers will not increase in 2022.

McMaster said the state’s unemployment tax rate for employers will either remain unchanged or decrease in 2022.

McMaster said his recommendation in 2020 that the General Assembly invest CARES Act funding to replenish the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund saved businesses in the state millions of dollars in taxes and has allowed the state to avoid federal loans and interest payments.

“We were very careful with the money. We learned lessons from 2008 and 2009,” McMaster said. “While other states had to take out millions of dollars in loans to cover the cost of unemployment, South Carolina took a fiscally responsible approach that is now paying dividends in lower taxes for our businesses and zero debt to repay.”

Department of Employment and Workforce Executive Director Dan Ellzey said the announcement is a huge benefit to employers and the state’s economy.

“Employers today can spend their money focusing on getting employees,” he said. “They don’t have to spend their money focusing on higher taxes from us.”

Since the pandemic began, the state paid out a total of $6.57 billion in unemployment benefits, according to SCDEW. But that figure is a combination of both state and federal benefits.

Ellzey said before the pandemic, the state had built the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund’s balance to $1.1 billion.

“The pandemic confirmed a lesson that we have learned and that is, if you’re prepared, you can get through bad things. We were prepared and we did get through it,” Ellzey said.

He said the state has 107,000 posted jobs at SCDEW’s website and the state’s unemployment rate is still dropping.

Ellzey said the state’s unemployment rate is 4.1%, compared with the national average of 4.8%.

“Currently, 11 states have outstanding loan balances and five are still actively borrowing federal funds,” Ellzey said.

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