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US News Best States List: South Carolina Ranks No. 42

Palmetto State shows modest improvement on second annual report card of states …

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South Carolina ranked No. 42 on U.S. News second annual list of “Best States” in America – slightly better than its standing as the sixth-worst state in the nation a year ago.

The Palmetto State also now ranks No. 48 on education – up two places from dead last in the nation a year ago.

Good news?  Only if you are aiming for “minimally adequate …”

South Carolina continues to scrape the bottom of the barrel on a host of important metrics, but the state’s chronically low education rankings are the most disappointing because they sow the seeds for future (costly) failure.

Hopefully state lawmakers will respond to this news by not balking at plans to expand the state’s fledgling parental choice movement … because market pressure to improve academic outcomes is needed now more than ever.

Education isn’t the Palmetto State’s only problem area, though.  South Carolina recorded a No. 41 national ranking in terms of health care outcomes (down from No. 39 a year ago) a No. 42 national ranking in “crime and corrections” (down from No. 41 last year).

Frankly, we were shocked to see only a one-place drop in the crime and corrections category given last year’s chaos in Palmetto State prisons.

U.S. News did give the state high marks for its economy (No. 15 nationally) and its fiscal stability (No. 19 nationally), although we are curious as to whether the economic rankings – which improved one spot from last year – adequately represent South Carolina’s anemic income growthweak economic expansion, paucity of decent jobs and shrinking workforce.

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We find it hard to believe that a state featuring the sixth-smallest workforce as a percentage of its population and the tenth-lowest income levels in the country would rank anywhere near the top fifteen economically.

We’re also pretty sure recent increases in taxingborrowing and spending aren’t going to bode well for South Carolina’s “fiscal stability.”

Speaking of, the state saw a four-place jump in infrastructure – coming in at No. 39 on the new report card after ranking No. 43 a year ago.  We suspect proponents of the gas tax increase which went into effect on July 1 will argue their new levy did the trick, but we don’t buy that spin either.

The U.S. News report “draws on thousands of data points to measure how well states are performing for their citizens,” according to its authors.

“In addition to health care and education, the metrics take into account a state’s economy, the opportunity and quality of life it offers people, its roads, bridges, internet and other infrastructure, its public safety and the fiscal stability of state government,” the publication noted.

Which state ranked No. 1 in the nation?  Iowa (following  a sixth-place finish in 2017).  Last year’s top-ranked state, Massachusetts, finished this year ranked No. 8.  As for our regional competitors, Florida ranked No. 15, North Carolina ranked No. 23 and Georgia ranked No. 31.

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