The Palmetto Dividend Fund

The mission for the PDF is to provide ALL South Carolinians with a $400 a year stipend to pay for that unexpected bill that 40% of all Americans cannot afford!

The PDF Policy

Even though we live in the richest country in the world, 40% of Americans have trouble paying an unexpected $400 bill. To relieve this economic insecurity, put millions of dollars into local economies every year, and allow our citizens to be more resilient in the face of unexpected financial hardship, Jermaine would advocate for The Palmetto Dividend: a Universal Basic Income of $400 per year to be paid out to every adult in South Carolina.


The Palmetto Dividend represents a historic yearly investment of $1.2 billion dollars directly in the people and families of South Carolina. This investment would help support local businesses, ease economic anxiety, and help those living in poverty lead more secure lives. Every single adult in the state would receive this dividend (yes, that means you) regardless of their work status or income. Additionally, the dividend would stack with all other benefits, including social security and disability programs. By making the Palmetto Dividend universal, it would be set apart from other types of government programs. It is not a handout, but a right of residence extended to all. This universality also ensures the Palmetto Dividend is easily administered without an army of caseworkers and mountains of paperwork.


While $1.2 billion dollars is an enormous amount of money, it’s important to put it in context of South Carolina’s economy and government budget. As a percentage of this year’s state budget ($29.8B), the Palmetto Dividend would represent a 4% increase, a small price for the benefit it would have on people’s lives. As a percent of South Carolina’s GDP, the Palmetto Dividend would only represent 0.6%.  


Our state ran a $1.8 billion dollar surplus this year, meaning the state has more than enough resources to pay this dividend. However, to keep the Palmetto Dividend budget neutral, it will be independently funded by a one percentage point increase to sales taxes, one percentage point increase in income tax for households making over $100,000 a year, and an additional one percentage point increase in income tax for households making over $165,000 a year. This new revenue will cover over 93% the cost of the dividend, and the remainder can be covered by existing budget surplus. Additional savings from the Palmetto Dividend would stem from the economic gains made in communities across the state and in cost savings from fewer South Carolinians depending on existing social programs.


The Palmetto Dividend represents a fundamentally new perspective on how best a government can use the engine of capitalism to serve its citizens. Universal Basic Income puts people at the center of economic growth and ensures that they have a stake in the prosperity of the state and the agency to decide how to best spend their money. I hope you join me in making this dividend a reality and recognizing that our people are worth investing in.  



40% of Americans can’t afford an unexpected $400 expense – Federal Reserve


South Carolina State Budget


Budget Surplus


State GDP 


Sales Tax Assessment Figures – Census Bureau


Income Tax Assessment Figures – Statistical Atlas