Oxygen - of all the things we put in our bodies, it is by far the most important. If it weren't for oxygen, we'd cease to exist. It's definitely a good thing, then, that we can find oxygen all around us. Oxygen fuels our cells and gives our bodies the basic building blocks we need to survive. It helps us heal, and when we're stressed, taking a few deep breaths can help us calm down. But did you know the oxygen you're breathing right now is only about 21% pure?
That begs the question: What if we could breathe air that has 100% pure oxygen? As it turns out, Better Life Carolinas provides exactly that with our hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). And while the name sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, the technology and benefits are real.
A wise person once said that oxygen under pressure equates to pure health. In some ways, that explains hyperbaric oxygen therapy in a nutshell. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) or hyperbaric chamber therapy is a revolutionary treatment where a patient relaxes in a comfortable chamber filled with 100% pure oxygen.
HBOT was initially used early in the 1900s and was later used in the U.S. to treat decompression sickness, which affects scuba divers. Today, hyperbaric chamber therapy is used by people from all walks of life, from businesspeople and athletes to blue-collar workers and stay-at-home moms.
During HBOT, the air pressure in the hyperbaric chamber is ramped up two or three times higher than typical air pressure. This increased pressure allows your body and lungs to absorb and gather higher amounts of pure oxygen - much more than you would be able to inhale, even if you were breathing pure oxygen.
If you're looking for an effective, efficient alternative to invasive procedures or heavy pharmaceutical medications, using a hyperbaric chamber in James Island, SC is worth considering. Over the last few years, HBOT has exploded in popularity. More and more people are choosing to use hyperbaric chambers for certain conditions and ailments because they don't require surgery and have no serious side effects.
During hyperbaric therapy treatment, air pressure in the chamber is ramped up so that it is many times higher than ambient air. This increased pressure compresses the breathable oxygen inside the hyperbaric chamber, which you breathe into your body by way of your lungs and skin. The air is then circulated throughout your body via your own bloodstream.
When this pure oxygen is distributed in your body, it saturates your organs, tissues, blood, and spinal cord fluid. It even settles into areas of your body where circulation may be poor or blocked. Like powerful jumper cables, this potent oxygen jump-starts your body's cellular regeneration processes, significantly decreasing harmful inflammation.
This increase in pure oxygen and decrease in inflammation is used to treat many different types of conditions and illnesses, including:
When it comes to common uses for hyperbaric chambers, treatment for sports-related injuries is near the top of the list. Trusted by athletes of all persuasions across multiple sports, hyperbaric chamber therapy has helped countless men and women recover from common issues like fractures, sprains, and compartment syndrome. In fact, studies show that hyperbaric therapy for athletes may work just as effectively as traditional therapy when used as part of a recovery program to achieve the highest healing potential.
That's because competition, training, and recovery go hand in hand. To help with the rigors of high-level sports, HBOT oxygenates muscles, boosts immune systems, and speeds up recovery time for injuries. HBOT cuts down on recovery time by boosting your body's self-healing processes. That, in turn, promotes cell regeneration, which helps encourage tissues and muscles to mend organically, lessening scarring.
When a person has a stroke, blood flow to their brain is disrupted, most often by a major artery blockage. This causes a lack of blood flow, which manifests very quickly, and results in dead brain tissue or hypoxia. When untreated, the blocked artery causes a litany of damage which usually gets worse over time.
While it's impossible to say how much salvageable tissue is lost in the time after a stroke, hyperbaric chamber therapy may help boost cell reproduction and provide oxygen to tissue that died due to lack of blood flow. The non-functioning cells around the damaged tissue area cause much of a person's post-stroke issues. If HBOT can help bring life back to dead cells, the stroke victim could regain lost functionality.
Over the years, many studies have shown promising results when patients use hyperbaric chambers for stroke recovery. In fact, a study conducted in 2013 by Tel Aviv University's Dr. Shai Efrati showed without a doubt that high oxygen levels can awaken dormant neurons. After a two-month period of HBOT for two hours a day, five times a week, brain imaging showed a significant increase in neuronal activity in patients compared to periods of non-treatment.
Patients in this study reported better sensation, less paralysis, and more ability to speak.
Hyperbaric chamber therapy has been used for years by skincare clinicians to supplement common procedures. The results are often stunning and have been shown to help patients with the following:
But how does a hyperbaric chamber in James Island, SC kick-start skin rejuvenation? When oxygen levels in your body drop as you age, your body's healing ability slowly declines, resulting in less tissue function, damaged tissue, cracked skin, slow-healing wounds, and wrinkles.
The pressurized oxygen used in HBOT sessions can reach tissue at the cellular level to improve stem-cell growth, immune system defenses, and circulation while reducing inflammation. This process can have a powerful detoxification effect on your body. When toxins are removed, skin blemishes and discolorations are often removed, too, leaving your skin healthy and rejuvenated.
They say that without pain, there is no gain, and that's typically true with plastic surgery and other cosmetic procedures. However, studies show that HBOT can help alleviate pain and boost recovery after plastic surgeries.
With normal levels of oxygen in the body, plastic surgery healing times can be lengthy and painful. Because hyperbaric chamber treatments expose your body to pure oxygen, recovery time is often reduced, and the healing process is accelerated - by as much as 75% in some instances.
The benefits of hyperbaric chamber therapy, when used for plastic surgery recovery, are numerous and include:
A few plastic surgery procedures that HBOT can help with include facelifts, liposuction, mommy makeovers, breast augmentations, and even rhinoplasties.
It's hard to fathom how much pain and PTSD a person goes through when they suffer from a traumatic brain injury. Serious head injuries don't just affect the recipient of the injury - they impact the patient's family, friends, and co-workers. Being able to treat people with serious concussions, TBIs, and other life-changing conditions like strokes is one of the main reasons we do what we do at Better Life Carolinas.
Mild TBIs usually require emergency care, medication, and extensive rest. But severe brain injuries require comprehensive medical interventions and post-care initiatives like speech therapy and physical therapy. The good news is that using a hyperbaric chamber in James Island, SC as part of a comprehensive medical strategy may provide natural brain healing in TBI patients.
Hyperbaric chamber treatment's primary use in these cases is to hyper-oxygenate tissues, which helps dissolve oxygen in the plasma. This action triggers several healing processes without overwhelming the patient's antioxidant system. The working mechanism of oxygen under pressure can help improve cerebral blood flow through micro-vessels and target injured areas in order to decrease inflammation.
This promising anti-inflammatory effect is the primary advantage of HBOT for traumatic brain injury patients and clears the way for natural, non-invasive healing.
Hyperbaric chamber therapy has also been documented to help TBI sufferers in many other ways, including:
As it turns out, using a hyperbaric chamber in James Island, SC may have benefits in the bedroom, too. Studies show that men suffering from ED may now have an additional treatment option to reclaim their sex lives. The International Journal of Impotence Research published a study in 2018 to determine if HBOT was a viable, non-surgical treatment for erectile dysfunction.
The results were very positive and showed that erectile function improved by as much as 88% in patients. Subsequent MRI scans analyzing blood flow of the penis also showed dramatic improvement. The study concluded that, even after years of ED, men could experience benefits from using hyperbaric chambers in lieu of risky surgeries and ineffective ED meds.
The documented improvements were due to more angiogenesis or growth of blood vessels in the penis. When new blood vessels grow in the penis, they can carry more blood to the organ, which helps achieve more frequent, stronger erections.
Though hyperbaric chambers are getting more popular with everyone from athletes to office workers, some folks are still out of the loop. If you're interested in learning more about this exciting, non-invasive, natural treatment, we encourage you to contact Better Life Carolinas today. Until we hear from you, here are answers to some of the most common questions we get regarding hyperbaric chamber therapy.
AWhen your session begins, oxygen will immediately circulate throughout the chamber, and pressure will gradually increase. At this point, most patients start feeling a fullness sensation in their ears, like they're ascending or descending in a plane. This feeling only lasts for 10-15 minutes. An experienced Better Life Carolinas hyperbaric technician will guide you on how to relieve any ear pressure, if necessary. Once the optimal pressure is reached, all you have to do is relax and breathe normally. As the session ends, your hyperbaric technician will gradually lower chamber pressure, which lasts about 10 minutes. During this stage, you may experience a light popping sensation in your ears. Once pressure is back to normal, you can exit the chamber and go about your day.
AIn general, you don't have to worry about serious side effects from HBOT. That's because it's an all-natural treatment - there are no incisions or addictive medications involved. However, some patients experience mild ear drum irritation. During your session, a Better Life Carolinas hyperbaric chamber expert will be by your side to help prevent this from happening.
AWithout a proper evaluation of your unique needs, it's hard to say with certainty. At Better Life Carolinas, we know that every patient is different. As such, every recommended therapy will be different, including the number of hyperbaric therapy sessions you need. Generally speaking, patients usually require 30 to 40 sessions. HBOT has a cumulative effect on your body and, as such, provides the best results with regularly occurring sessions.
AIf you have a form of air-trapping emphysema like COPD or have an untreated pneumothorax, HBOT isn't for you. At Better Life Carolinas, every one of our patients undergoes a full evaluation to ensure that hyperbaric oxygen therapy is safe for you and your body.
If you're looking for a hyperbaric chamber in James Island, SC look no further than Better Life Carolinas. Whether you're a professional athlete looking to maximize recovery time or need a natural way to look and feel younger, our experts are here to help. Unlike some clinics that rely on major invasive procedures and addictive medications, our team focuses on natural, holistic ways to heal your body. If you're ready to optimize your health and reclaim your youth, contact us today to learn more about HBOT and our other natural therapies.
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The City of Charleston’s Planning Commission on Wednesday will review plans for a new residential development on James Island.The property has both low-lying wetlands and high ground, which appears to be causing concern for some James Island residents.One James Island resident, Franny Henty, said she is concerned about the flooding problems that developments in low-lying areas m...
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The City of Charleston’s Planning Commission on Wednesday will review plans for a new residential development on James Island.
The property has both low-lying wetlands and high ground, which appears to be causing concern for some James Island residents.
One James Island resident, Franny Henty, said she is concerned about the flooding problems that developments in low-lying areas may cause for surrounding neighbors.
Developers are proposing to build the ‘Harbor View Towns’ near the intersection of the James Island Expressway and Harbor View Road. According to the submitted plans, it will consist of six single-family and 10 multifamily units.
Henty lives off of Folly Road, right near Publix.
With the multiple jurisdictions interacting on James Island, she said she hopes the city is being careful with its stormwater retention plan, especially considering the low-lying areas and wetlands on the property.
“Adding so much development can flood out the neighbors, and that’s not apparent immediately, its apparent years later, Henty said.
City of Charleston Director of Planning, Preservation and Sustainability Robert Summerfield said the majority of the property is high land, but the portion of the property containing wetlands will be “pretty significantly” buffered away.
He said the developer’s plans include a stormwater retention plan, and even though the multiple jurisdictions can be confusing from a planning perspective, he is confident in the city’s stormwater requirements.
“This property is in the city, this property is not, and so on and so forth. But this one is in the city, has to meet all of our requirements. And again, our stormwater requirements, I would put those up against any in the state in terms of their stringent requirements to safeguard against future, and particularly downstream, flooding,” Summerfield said.
We are waiting to hear from the developer for comment.
Today’s planning commission meeting will take place at 5:00 p.m. in the Public Meeting Room on the first floor of 2 George Street.
The meeting will also be live streamed and recorded on the City of Charleston Public Meetings YouTube channel.
Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.
JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV) — The Lowcountry Cajun Festival will return at James Island County Park on April 22 from noon to 6 p.m.New for 2023, festival admission will be charged per vehicle, and tickets are available for advance purchase, according to a Feb. 23 press release. A limited number of vehicles will be admitted. Tickets will be $35 per standard vehicle of up to 15 people in advance. If available, tickets at the gate will be $40 per vehicle. For additional details and to purchase tickets, visit ...
JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV) — The Lowcountry Cajun Festival will return at James Island County Park on April 22 from noon to 6 p.m.
New for 2023, festival admission will be charged per vehicle, and tickets are available for advance purchase, according to a Feb. 23 press release. A limited number of vehicles will be admitted. Tickets will be $35 per standard vehicle of up to 15 people in advance. If available, tickets at the gate will be $40 per vehicle. For additional details and to purchase tickets, visit CharlestonCountyParks.com.
Gold Passes will be valid for vehicle admission; the pass must be presented at the gate for entry. Gold Passes will not be sold on site the day of the festival, but may be purchased in advance online. Receipt of purchase will not be accepted, according to the press release.
Read more: Lowcountry Cajun Festival returns to James Island County Park on Saturday
According to the press release, the 2023 Lowcountry Cajun Festival entertainment lineup is Shrimp City Slim Swamp All-Stars from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., Les Freres Michot from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., and Corey Arceneaux & The Zydeco Hot Peppers from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
The festival's small stage will host Friends of Coastal South Carolina for a program called “Who Calls the Swamp Home?” at 1 p.m. and the annual Crawfish Eating Contest will take place at 2:30 p.m., according to the press release. Other festivities include a crafters' market, souvenirs for sale and a kids' area.
Read more: Lowcountry Cajun Festival
Children can enjoy access to the inflatables and climbing wall in the kids' area all day with the purchase of a $10 hand stamp. Credit cards will be accepted at select locations, but attendees are encouraged to bring cash for convenience purposes, according to the press release.
No coolers or outside food or alcohol permitted, according to the press release. Carpooling is highly encouraged. Pets are not permitted to this event. James Island County Park will be closed to regular park guests on April 22 in order to host the festival.
The press release says Lowcountry Cajun Festival is presented by Charleston Animal Society, Coca-Cola and Charleston County Parks. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit CharlestonCountyParks.com or call 843-795-4386.
Football fans are gearing up for Super Bowl Sunday when the Kansas City Chiefs face off against the Philadelphia Eagles. Whether you’re a fan excited to see your team on the big screen or you’re just tagging along to watch the commercials and indulge in snacks, there are plenty of places to watch the Super Bowl or order takeout for your house party.The Break778 Folly Road (James Island)facebook....
Football fans are gearing up for Super Bowl Sunday when the Kansas City Chiefs face off against the Philadelphia Eagles. Whether you’re a fan excited to see your team on the big screen or you’re just tagging along to watch the commercials and indulge in snacks, there are plenty of places to watch the Super Bowl or order takeout for your house party.
The Break778 Folly Road (James Island)facebook.com/thebreakjamesisland
The bar at The Break is surrounded by TVs, giving you the perfect vantage point from any spot. But if a play makes you mad, a break takes too long or you’re not interested in the halftime show, there are plenty of pinball machines to keep entertain you until the next play.
The Brick24 Ann St. (Downtown)thebrickcharleston.com
The Brick offers plenty of TVs, a huge selection of beers and delicious shareables like pretzel bites, wings, Frito pie and cheeseburger egg rolls.
Charleston Sports PubVarious locationscharlestonsportspub.com
Charleston Sports Pub has several locations around the Charleston area, with plenty of TVs, food and beer to enjoy the big game. Check out the family boxes of burgers and wings, tacos and quesadillas or boneless and bone-in wings starting at $34.99.
The Crab ShackVarious locationscrabshacks.com
Crack open a cold one and dig into some crab legs while watching the Chiefs and Eagles. If you’d rather stay home this year, make your party extra super with a selection of Shacks Party Platters, such as Frogmore Stew, chicken tenders, crispy fried shrimp and crab dip.
DIG in the Park1049 E. Montague Ave. (Park Circle)Dighospitality.com
Enjoy the outdoor patio at this Park Circle establishment while sipping on a cold beer and indulging in delicious eats like a Margherita flatbread, tacos, Cuban sandwiches and more.
Garage 754130, 1175 Folly Road (James Island)Garage75.com
Garage 75 has it all — TVs, beer, food and games. Get there early to play a quick game of pool, then sit down and get the best view from one of the many televisions in the space.
Gene’s Haufbrau817 Savannah Hwy. (West Ashley)
Gene’s knocks pub fare out of the park with classics like chicken wings and burgers, but ask about the daily blue plate specials, ranging from pork chops and pot roast to fried flounder. If you’re looking for a dive bar to watch the game with some friends, Gene’s is the place.
Ireland’s Own/Jagerhaus Pub3025 Ashley Town Center Drive(West Ashley)irelandsownsc.com
Watch the game at Ireland’s Own, and during timeouts, breaks or halftime, play a quick round on the golf simulator or get the high score in Pac-Man. But if you want to watch the game at home, order a wing platter of 50 wings for $75 and choose from buffalo, teriyaki and lemon pepper — or mix and match.
Martin’s BBQ1622 Highland Ave. (James Island)Martinsbbqjoint.com
Hang out with strangers and friends while enjoying Martin’s Tennessee-style barbeque. Or order Martin’s catering options including smoked wings, meats by the pound, sides, desserts and drinks by Feb. 12 to get your fixin’s in time for the big game.
Mex 1 Coastal CantinaVarious locationsmex1coastalcantina.com
While the Tex-Mex restaurant isn’t hosting any Super Bowl day specials, it is offering its popular Triple Dipper Box & Taco Box to feed your hungry guests. The Triple Dipper Box is loaded with tortilla chips, and served with guacamole, queso and salsa, while the Taco Box is filled to the brim with tacos. If you want more guac to go with the chips, Mex 1 offers a recipe you can make at home. Find the recipe on CharlestonCityPaper.com.
Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ1011 King St. (Downtown)Rodneyscottsbbq.com
Though Rodney Scott’s isn’t a place to catch the game, it’s definitely the place to grab some food. But, if you feel like impressing your guests at home, pitmaster and namesake Rodney Scott has offered a few recipes like his Hail Mary Deviled Eggs and Taters Gonna Tate potato salad. Visit CharlestonCityPaper.com for the full recipes.
The Roost Bar N’ GrilleVarious locationsRoostcharleston.com
Scarf down on classic football-watching dishes like nachos or chicken tenders, or indulge in Philly cheesesteaks, tacos or fish and chips while watching the big game.
Smoky Yolk1234 Camp Road (James Island)Smokyyolkcafe.com
Though this breakfast and lunch joint closes before the big game starts, Smoky Yolk is offering a Smoky Yolk Experience Platter for $69.99. The platter comes with pulled pork, brisket, smoked turkey, cheddar-jalapeño sausage, pulled chicken, six smoked wings and your choice of three sides. Head to smokyyolkcafe.com to place your order and pick-up in store any time.
SportsBook of Charleston4950 Centre Pointe Dr.(North Charleston)Lucky17restaurants.com
Dine on snacks like steak bites or The Big Money Maker, a burger made with Kobe beef, bacon jam and gouda cheese while sipping on a cold beer or cocktail at SportsBook.
Southside 17 Bar & Grill3632 Savannah Hwy (West Ashley)Southside17.com
Southside 17 will offer game day food and drink specials during its Super Bowl party, along with a menu of chicken wings, fried appetizers, tacos, sandwiches, burgers and more.
Triangle Char & Bar828 Savannah Hwy. (West Ashley)Trianglecharandbar.com
Triangle Char & Bar is a family friendly neighborhood restaurant with a cozy vibe and delicious food. During the game, enjoy locally sourced burgers, beer and nice weather on the outside patio.
Whiskey Run Sports Bar5060 Dorchester Road(North Charleston)Whiskeyruncharleston.com
You bet your Bulleit Bourbon that Whiskey Run is showing the Super Bowl. A different take on a traditional sports bar, Whiskey Run offers a carefully curated cocktail menu in addition to cold beer paired with food such as wings, sausage dogs or whiskey pulled pork.
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A Lowcountry town is reminding people to keep an eye out for the Asian longhorned beetle. It’s a small bug with potentially big consequences.CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A Lowcountry town is reminding people to keep an eye out for the Asian longhorned beetle. It’s a small bug with potentially big consequences.The invasive species threatens a lot of different trees by chewing away bark and eventually killing the tree. South Carolina is one of four states that is fighting advances by the bug, according to the USDA....
A Lowcountry town is reminding people to keep an eye out for the Asian longhorned beetle. It’s a small bug with potentially big consequences.
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A Lowcountry town is reminding people to keep an eye out for the Asian longhorned beetle. It’s a small bug with potentially big consequences.
The invasive species threatens a lot of different trees by chewing away bark and eventually killing the tree. South Carolina is one of four states that is fighting advances by the bug, according to the USDA.
The Town of James Island shared an infographic about the bug, reminding residents to report sightings of the bug because there are special measures that need to be taken if they’re spotted.
A local pest control expert with a focus on the environment, Kevin Reif says he saw one just last week.
“We don’t necessarily get too many calls about it. This is more of a rare thing that we do see, but it is something that we do want homeowners to be aware of. The biggest thing is just identification of knowing what it is whenever you do see it,” Reif explains.
They are recognized for their one-to-two-inch black bodies with long black and white striped antenna. They have six legs and white spots. They often leave pencil sized and perfectly round holes in a tree, along with chewed circles of bark.
Researchers at Clemson University say it is extremely unlikely that an adult beetle will be seen, especially outside of the months of late May to August. Therefore they encourage the public to look for other signs of damage on host trees, including egg sites and exit holes. You can report sightings to the research department here.
If you see one, you’re asked to report it to U.S. Department of Agriculture hotline who track the bug’s movements and population. You should also call a pest control expert who is familiar with the quarantine rules for the bug.
“If a homeowner does find one, put it in a jar if you’re if you’re willing to you can even freeze it just to kind of contain it. The biggest thing is going to be just knowing exactly what it is and then just giving somebody a call,” Reif says.
Reif also says there’s no need to be afraid of them, since they aren’t harmful to people or pets, but do pose the threat to the trees if they go unchecked.
The Town of James Island posted the reminder to be on the looking for bugs on the town Facebook page. The town provided the following statement about their recent post:
“Portions of Charleston County have been under quarantine for a few years, so we need to be sure we remind folks to keep an eye out and report any potential sightings to the USDA. While James Island is not included within the quarantine boundaries, we still need to be diligent in this effort to limit the impact on the natural landscape that makes our area so unique and beautiful.”
Reif says it’s important to report the bug, and ideally trap it to be a part of the documentation and control.
“Our trees are really close together here and sometimes you have limbs touching. And the worst thing that we could see happen is for that beetle to expand. And so if we can mitigate that and kind of quarantine the issue quicker, you’re going to be a big help with that,” Reif explains.
He says the rare calls mean the Asian longhorned beetle isn’t a rampant problem in South Carolina or the Lowcountry, but he has seen them and wants people to know what to do if they do. He says action early will prevent any damages to the environment.
“The biggest threat, it would cause us is really just our trees, our environment here. The birds - they have to live somewhere and a lot of other species use these beautiful trees to have their habitat in. And so that beetle is causing a much bigger issue on environmental and more of an ecosystem standpoint,” Reif says.
You can report a sighting and read more about the beetle, here.
Copyright 2023 WCSC. All rights reserved.
South Carolina House budget writers aimed to continue investing in economic development and the people of the state, the House’s lead writer says of the Ways and Means Committee budget proposal approved last week.Among the investments is money to prepare land for companies to locate, to freeze college tuition rates, to create new state parks and create a center for school safety.Lawmakers have about $3.5 billion in new annual and one-time revenue to spend in this spring’s budget discussions for the spending year tha...
South Carolina House budget writers aimed to continue investing in economic development and the people of the state, the House’s lead writer says of the Ways and Means Committee budget proposal approved last week.
Among the investments is money to prepare land for companies to locate, to freeze college tuition rates, to create new state parks and create a center for school safety.
Lawmakers have about $3.5 billion in new annual and one-time revenue to spend in this spring’s budget discussions for the spending year that begins July 1. In total, the House budget-writing committee proposed a $13.8 billion spending plan.
The full House is scheduled to debate the budget the week of March 13. After House approval, the Senate will start its deliberations.
Budget writers also had to take into account the second year of a scheduled tax cut that lowers the maximum income tax rate from 6.5% to 6.4%. The cut keeps about $96 million out of state coffers.
“I think this budget is an investment in the people and prosperity in South Carolina,” said Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bruce Bannister, R-Greenville. “Low taxes, conservative budgeting, aggressive economic development efforts lead to a strong economy, which leads to additional opportunity to invest in the people and the economy in South Carolina.”
Among the planned expenditures, budget writers want to give $200 million to the S.C. Department of Commerce for economic development site preparation such as putting in roads, water and sewer infrastructure to sites for major economic development projects. An additional $5.5 million would go to the agency to update its branding efforts when marketing to businesses.
“Site preparation is critical to developing a competitive edge for South Carolina in the southeast to attract companies that can be economic drivers for our state and on a local level,” said state Rep. Leon Stavrinakis, D-Charleston.
The Ways and Means Committee also proposed spending $25 million on state park development, upgrades and maintenance.
The state Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism has acquired land to build out the Ramsey Grove State Park in Georgetown County, Fort Johnson State Park in James Island and Black River State Park in Williamsburg and Georgetown counties.
The last park opened by PRT was H. Cooper Black in Cheraw in 2006.
“To the degree we can add unique and special things for our citizens to enjoy and that will further draw people to South Carolina to contribute to our local economy, that’s a win for us,” Stavrinakis said. “These are amazing properties and pieces of land that we’re preserving or making special places out of them.”
Budget writers also included $3.2 million to create a center for school safety at the former Gilbert Elementary School in Lexington 1. The center was among the recommendations made by Gov. Henry McMaster in his proposed budget and is in line with the plan to have a school resource officer at every school in the state.
“Having regular training sessions is really a response to (what happened in) Uvalde’s failure to act, ‘Hey, this is what you do when there’s an active shooter,’ and they’re going to go work on that and that’ll be part of their training,” Bannister said.
In-state college students also are in line to not face an increase in their tuition rates for the fifth year in a row. House budget writers proposed $69 million for tuition mitigation to freeze tuition rates for in-state students.
“We wanted to focus on the access and affordability in higher education for our young students across the state,” said state Rep. Nathan Ballentine, R-Lexington. “Freezing tuition prices obviously prevents an increased burden on families and our students throughout the state.”
House budget writers also want to spend $196 million for Medicaid and Medicare programs.
Part of the expense includes replacing matching dollars lost from a decrease in federal funding because the state’s economy is doing well, Medicare premium increases, increased reimbursement rates, increased costs for inflation and other costs to maintain the same level of service in the state.
“This will draw more providers to our underserved communities and that’s been a goal of our subcommittee for the past five or six years,” said state Rep. Bill Herbkersman, R-Beaufort, who leads a panel overseeing health care spending.
Again not included in the budget proposal is money for to start building Interstate 73 to connect Interstate 95 to Myrtle Beach, a roadway that would encourage economic development in the Grand Strand and help with hurricane evacuations.
McMaster and Horry County lawmakers last year sought $300 million to start the highway, a recommendation the governor pushed for again this year. However, lawmakers included $200 million to speed up bridge work planned by the S.C. Department of Transportation around the state.
“My feel for the House is there’s still a very strong desire to fix the (current) interstate system,” Bannister said. “That we have to make sure that it’s up to snuff before we start building new roads.”
The initial budget proposed by Ways and Means does not include member-directed spending for projects in their districts.
Member projects are expected to be added when the House receives the budget back from the Senate. In recent years some earmarked projects have been controversial, including how money went to a nonprofit run by a lawmaker’s friend and how an Upstate Christian organization wanted to use state dollars to build a school.
Bannister said the Ways and Means Committee is working on the best way to review projects before they get state money, to make sure organizations or nonprofits that get dollars are in good standing, and if the project is worth the investment.
“We’re trying to figure out if there’s a way to vet those projects better than we have in the past,” Bannister said.
Bannister did not know how many member projects would ultimately be included but the committee has billions in requests.
Copyright 2023 by Dr. Mickey Barber's Better Life