S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley’s scandal-scarred Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW) is claiming that South Carolina businesses will see a tax decrease in 2013 as the agency pays less money in unemployment benefits.  According to Associated Press reporter Seanna Adcox – who basically parrots whatever information the Haley administration provides her with – the governor’s cabinet agency will pay $150 million less in unemployment benefits this year, which she claims will lead to savings for businesses in the coming year.

S.C. Sen Kevin Bryant (R-Anderson) – one of the few taxpayer heroes in the S.C. General Assembly – is disputing that contention though.  According to a report prepared at the behest of Bryant’s Senate subcommittee, unemployment insurance rates in South Carolina are about to go up, not down.

“Rates for all employers in 2013 may rise as much as 12 percent or more,” the report states.  Furthermore, the report speculates that individual employers “may see their rates triple or quadruple” based on SCDEW’s incompetence.

For those of you unfamiliar with this ongoing drama, Haley’s “jobs agency” has consistently been among the most inefficient and ineffective agencies in her administration – a cost that has keeps being passed on to South Carolina businesses and taxpayers.  After being exposed in a scathing audit released by the S.C. Legislative Audit Council (SCLAC) earlier this year,  SCDEW was recently placed on alert by the feds for its incompetence.

At last count, one out of every five dollars in unemployment benefits doled out in South Carolina is awarded erroneously – the eighth-highest percentage in the nation.  Obviously that’s a big problem in a state that also has one of the highest unemployment rates in America – and our sources at the agency say that its leaders have been deliberately doling out some of these improper benefits.

Anyway, Bryant’s report is the latest investigation to uncover problems at this agency – while confirming many of the problems that have already been exposed.

Specifically, the report finds that “application of (unemployment insurance) law by DEW remains undetermined at this time as DEW has provided no consistent, uniform or verifiable explanation of its actions under the statutes.”

Gee … that’s comforting when we’re talking about an agency that distributes nearly half a billion dollars worth of unemployment checks each year.

Anyway, Bryant’s report states that SCDEW is neither “following the law nor has a legitimate or consistent understanding of its meaning.”

Regarding cases deemed to be “eligible” for benefits, Bryant’s report found that there was “no discernible set of uniform or consistent standards with which DEW adjudicates claims either under the new law (Act 247) or law that has been in existence for decades.  DEW apparently has no definitions of the terms ‘inefficiency,’ ‘inability’ and ‘incapacity.’ DEW testified that it relies upon state case law to inform its adjudicators on these terms, but DEW has not responded to requests for those citations.”

According to our sources, Bryant’s report was supposed to be released as a committee document but S.C. Sen. Greg Ryberg – a longtime ally of Haley’s – intervened to keep that from happening.  Ryberg has also reportedly been instrumental in an effort to try and silence Bryant’s criticism of this agency.

To read Bryant’s damning report in its entirety, click on the link below …