Greenville Democrat Rep. Leola Robinson-Simpson has prefiled a bill that would establish a “poverty elimination bank” to fund poverty-reduction initiatives throughout South Carolina.

Under the proposed legislation, taxpayers would be allowed to contribute to the fund when filing their income tax returns much in the same way that contributions can be set aside for South Carolina’s War Between the States Heritage Trust Fund, Non-game Wildlife and Natural Areas Program Fund, and other state programs. The bill would require the General Assembly to appropriate funding to the official Poverty Elimination Bank.

As stated in Robinson-Simpson’s proposal, “Fund revenue must be used to fund poverty-reduction initiatives in South Carolina and may not be appropriated for any other purpose. The fund may receive donations and grants from public and private sources, including a contribution on an income tax return … together with any additional revenues which the General Assembly appropriates to the fund.”

According to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, almost 17 percent of South Carolina residents earned incomes below the poverty line, which for a family of four amounts to $24,250 in annual household income. This percentage of the state population accounts for 790,715 residents living in South Carolina.

Nearly one-fourth of children under the age of 18 in the state lived in impoverished families. Women in South Carolina face a much higher threat of poverty than men. In 2015, more than 18 percent of working-age women lived below the poverty line, while this number was closer to 13 percent for men. Keep in mind that women in South Carolina working full-time, year-round earn 81 cents for every dollar made by their male counterparts.

Stay cool. Support City Paper.

City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.