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unemployment office

The S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW) is blaming a loss of federal funding for its decision to stop offering in-person unemployment insurance services at sixteen rural locations.

“Because of continued decreases in federal funding, DEW will regionalize some of its in-person unemployment insurance services starting Feb. 15,” an agency memo obtained by FITS reveals. “DEW remains deeply committed to reemployment efforts, excellent customer service and businesses throughout South Carolina. We appreciate your patience and support while working through this transition.”

The announcement comes three days after the agency – which is part of S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley’s cabinet – announced it was laying off seventy-five employees. Sources tell FITS the employees being laid off are “people working the front lines with customers.” Meanwhile the agency’s upper management – led by retired general Abraham Turner – continues to add staff and enjoy lavish taxpayer-funded retreats.

And of course none of these resource reallocations result in savings for taxpayers … because in the Palmetto State there is currently no mechanism to rebate surpluses or “savings” back to the people who fund government in the first place.

Anyway, SCDEW received $231 million in the current fiscal year budget. The agency is still paying down a massive $933 million tab it owes the federal government for recession-era unemployment benefits. Most of this debt is being repaid in the form of tax hikes on businesses, although Haley and the “Republican-controlled” S.C. General Assembly decided in 2011 to shift $146 million of this burden directly onto the backs of individual taxpayers.

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