Chamber President and CEO Otis Rawl says his organization is concerned about the effectiveness with which the Employment Security Commission is linking unemployed workers with jobs. He says the state is also facing a debt to the SC Unemployment Trust Fund of more than $2 billion all totaled. He says if that debt isn’t addressed properly, then businesses will be left holding all the burden. He says mismanaging that problem will drive away jobs.
The Chamber president says high unemployment tax payments was one of the reasons a branch of Boeing left Seattle.
Rawl says their agenda is developed from nine grassroots meetings held with local chambers around the state, and from discussions with many SC Chamber members.
The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce represents more than 18,000 members statewide and more than one million employees.
Concerning the protection of secret union ballots, Rawl says businesses and employees could be heavily impacted if the federal Employee Free Choice Act passes, which he says would threaten to remove a worker’s right to vote by secret ballot whether they want to be in a union. A state Constitutional amendment to fight the legislation passed the House in 2009 with 89 votes and passed the Senate judiciary Committee by a vote of 17-2.
Also on the Chamber’s agenda, addressing health care costs and tort reform. Rawl says many small businesses are just one lawsuit away from going out of business.
(Rawl interview MP3 9:28)