Information on the Issues

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Chamber Biz...Update from South Carolina Chamber of Commerce


Added on: June 7, 2012

More Information >> http://data.scchamber.net/CBizMobileText.aspx



Upstate Chamber Coalition Legislative Update


Added on: June 5, 2012

More Information >> http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-6112.php



Competitiveness Update


Added on: June 5, 2012

More Information >> http://capwiz.com/scchamber/utr/1/DWRIRUKHEU/FUFWRUKHHL/8354012566



Upstate Chamber Coalition Legislative Update


Added on: March 30, 2012

More Information >> http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-33012.php



SC Chamber Competitiveness Update


Added on: March 30, 2012

Thumbs Up: To Sens. Kevin Bryant (Anderson) and John Scott (Richland) for working out a bipartisan compromise on S.1125, legislation to eliminate unemployment benefits to workers fired for misconduct.
 
Thumbs Up: To Reps. Tom Young (Aiken) and Eddie Tallon (Spartanburg) for their leadership in passing H.4043, legislation that would end unemployment benefits to workers who fail or refuse drug tests by prospective employers.
 
Senate Passes Major UI Reform
On a 40-0 vote, the Senate unanimously passed legislation to eliminate unemployment benefits if a worker is fired for misconduct. Last year, approximately $50 million was paid to workers fired for misconduct, 10 percent of all payouts that year. The bill, sponsored by Sens. Lee Bright (Spartanburg), Kevin Bryant (Anderson) and others, protects employer contributions to the system at a time when the state is still working to repay federal loans, which currently stand at $783 million dollars.
 
“This bill will not only protect businesses, but protects the benefits of workers who make a claim for legitimate reasons,” said Sen. Bright (Spartanburg).
 
“We have to keep the cost of business as low as possible in South Carolina, both for the business owners and the consumers,” said Sen. Bryant (Anderson).
 
Also last year, it was reported that more than $86 million was paid to workers who made fraudulent claims. It has also surfaced that the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) charged specific companies for these fraudulent benefits. Therefore, Sens. Bryant (Anderson), Greg Ryberg (Aiken), John Scott (Richland) and Vincent Sheheen (Kershaw) added an amendment that would credit back employers for these fraudulent claims, another major reform effort.
 
By a vote of 70-24, the House passed H.4043, legislation to allow prospective employers to submit failed drug tests to the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) as a basis for disqualification of unemployment benefits. The bill, sponsored by Reps. Eddie Tallon (Spartanburg) and Tom Young (Aiken), is a common sense step forward with one of the criteria for maintaining benefits being “able and available” to work. If a job applicant is offered work, but fails or refuses a drug test, unemployment benefits should clearly be stopped.
 
Senate Receives Legislation to Restore Balance to PCA
This week, the Senate received the House-passed Pollution Control Act (PCA) fix with no amendments. The business community continues to work towards a common sense solution to remedy the overreaching court decision in the Smith Land Company case.
 
The business community is working closely with Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler (Cherokee) and Sen. Brad Hutto (Orangeburg) on language that will restore regulatory certainty while maintaining a legitimate chance to pass the Senate this session. While the business community needs an immediate fix, employers cannot accept a bill that does not adequately protect businesses from private citizen suits.
 
H.4654 would restore 61 years of balance overturned when the South Carolina Supreme Court issued its Smith Land Company opinion. Now, any discharges or emissions into the environment require a permit, even if a permit does not exist. The ruling also creates a private right of action for any citizen or citizens group to bring suit against those “violating” the PCA. Correcting the court ruling is critical to restoring regulatory certainty and maintaining a pro-business climate. North Carolina and Georgia do not have this court-imposed private right of action.
 
Tax Reform Bills Advance
The House Ways and Means Committee advanced two tax reform bills this week, including one (H.4997) that collapses the income tax brackets from 6 to 3 and another (H.4996) that cuts the business income entrepreneurs report on personal tax forms from 5 percent to 3 percent. H.4996 would result in a $59 million tax cut for nearly 60,000 small business owners.
 
Earlier this month, the House Republican Caucus Tax Reform Study Committee filed seven bills after months of study. The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce has called for comprehensive tax reform for several years with tax policy reflecting pro-job creation, pro-growth policies. The South Carolina Chamber’s internal committees and member companies are engaged in reviewing the proposals.
 
Business Community Shows Support for Ex-Im Bank Reauthorization
The U.S. Senate is considering legislation that would reauthorize the Export Import (Ex-Im) Bank of the United States, the official export credit agency of the U.S. that assists in financing the export of goods and services at no cost to taxpayers. The Ex-Im Bank’s charter will expire May 31, 2012, and if the Bank is not reauthorized prior to this date, critical credit for exporters and suppliers will be at risk.  
 
In an op-ed that appeared in The Greenville News, South Carolina Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Otis Rawl and South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance President and CEO Lewis Gossett point out that most manufacturing operations in South Carolina are small facilities, and many of these businesses depend upon the Ex-Im Bank to provide their customers with financing that cannot be obtained elsewhere.
 
“As businesses tackle many other areas of our financial and regulatory world that put us at a disadvantage, we need Congress to maintain one of the few government entities that helps South Carolina companies remain competitive. To do otherwise would put our businesses at a disadvantage in the global marketplace,” said Rawl and Gossett in the op-ed. Read the full opinion editorial.
 
Last year alone, the Ex-Im Bank supported more than $40 billion in U.S. exports that helped create or sustain 290,000 U.S. jobs at more than 3,600 companies. Additionally, the Ex-Im Bank is self-sustaining. In the years since it was last authorized in 2006, the Bank has returned $3.4 billion to the U.S. Treasury above and beyond the cost of its operations.
 
Last week, the South Carolina House unanimously passed resolutions sponsored by House Speaker Bobby Harrell (Charleston) urging South Carolina’s congressional delegation to support the reauthorization of the Bank. In the Senate, Sen. Paul Campbell (Berkeley) sponsored a similar resolution that passed.
 
In Other News…
A conference committee finalized charter school reform legislation this week that would provide more options for students and parents in the public education system. The House adopted the conference report by a vote of 105-0. When the Senate returns in one week from furlough, it will address the conference report. Conferees are: Sens. John Matthews (Orangeburg), Wes Hayes (York) and Mike Fair (Greenville) and Reps. Jimmy Neal (Lancaster), Phil Owens (Pickens) and Andy Patrick (Beaufort). The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce supports the legislation.
 
H.3152, government restructuring legislation, calling for the joint election of the governor and lieutenant governor, was set for Special Order in the Senate. The legislation is part of the South Carolina Chamber’s Competitiveness Agenda.
 
S.772, the Tort Claims Act, legislation applying to local and state governments that would remove caps on economic and non-economic damages, was amended by the Senate Judiciary Committee to link damage limitations to the consumer price index. The South Carolina Civil Justice Coalition, of which the Chamber is an active member, opposes the amendment.
 
This week, the Senate confirmed Holly Pisarik to lead the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (LLR).
 
This week, Sen. Larry Martin (Pickens) was appointed to serve on the Judicial Merit Selection Commission to fill the vacant seat of Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell. South Carolina Chamber President and CEO Otis Rawl said, “Properly screening judicial candidates is a critical part of the process of selecting qualified, fair judges. Having a pro-business leader like Sen. Larry Martin serve on the Judicial Merit Selection Commission will ensure fair and balanced judges are selected to serve this great state.”
 
The Senate Judiciary Committee will review the nomination of Melody James for the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. The Chamber urges the Senate Judiciary Committee to review nominations based on a candidate’s ability to be fair and objective.
 
The House will be on furlough for the next two weeks and will return to Columbia April 17. The Senate will furlough next week and return to Columbia April 10.


Update from Upstate Chamber Coalition


Added on: March 27, 2012

More Information >> http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-32312.php



SC Competitiveness Update


Added on: March 27, 2012

More Information >> http://www.scchamber.net/UserFiles/scchcom/Documents/Advocacy/Competitiveness%20Update/CU_3-23-2012Web.pdf



House Approves State Budget


Added on: March 20, 2012

Tax relief, port dredging, teacher raises included in a balanced budget

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The House of Representatives approved a balanced 2012-2013 general fund state budget today, sending more than $600 million in tax relief, prioritizing teacher raises, and adhering to the House’s spending limit legislation.

The highlight of the budget is an increase of the “base student cost” to $2,012 in 2012, sending more money down to our state’s classrooms. That increase is designated to give teachers their first pay raise in four years. The budget also sets aside $180 million to dredge the Port of Charleston to assist with economic expansion. It also includes funding for 50 new state law enforcement officers and fully funds the reserve fund requirements approved by voters in 2008.

Other budget items of note:

·         The total General Fund budget (recurring and non-recurring) is $6.5 billion.

·         The total budget from all funds (general fund, federal, and “other”) is $23.3 billion.

·         There is $549 million in the budget for property tax relief for homeowners.

·         The budget includes $77 million in unemployment tax relief for businesses.

·         Funded Medicaid at current levels.

·         Budget growth falls nearly 1% below the spending cap approved by the House last year.

·         More than 50 agencies are funded at or below last year’s levels.

·         Since the GOP took control of the House in 1994, we have cut the number of funded state employee positions by 15%.



Update from Rita Allison


Added on: March 20, 2012

The 2012/2013 State Appropriations Bill was given 3rd Reading in the SC House this Thursday, March 15, 2012. It will now go to the Senate for debate.

Below are some key points concerning the House Budget:
 
Total Budget
General Fund (Part 1A) expenditures - $5,978,786,084
Total Budget (Recurring, Nonrecurring, Federal, Other, and CRF) - $23 billion
 
Reserve Accounts
A total of $573 million is placed into reserve accounts
o Nearly $400 million in Constitutionally and Statutorily required reserve accounts (General Reserve Fund and Capital Reserve Fund)
o $180 million in the Charleston Harbor Deepening Reserve Fund
 
State Employee Pay Raise
Granted at 2% state employee pay raise - $28.25 million.
 
Education
Added an additional $152 million to K-12 education to increase the Base Student Cost to $2,012 per student.
By proviso, the districts are directed to insure that the additional funding will be used to provide district staff with pay increases.
 
Health Care
Fully funded the Medicaid program’s Maintenance of Effort which allows the program to continue to offer services at the current level.
Restored over $18 million in funding to the Department of Mental Health.
Provided $3.6 million to Vocational Rehabilitation to nearly fully match federal funds available.
 
Economic Development
Provided $77 million worth of tax relief to businesses across the State by contributing funds to repay the SUTA debt. (State Unemployment Debt)
 This $77 million means all businesses in SC will see an average savings in their UI taxes of 12.3% or $51.11 per worker.
Funded programs that have proven successful in helping put people back to work:
 Over $24 million to help train workers through the ReadySC program at the Technical Colleges.
 Increased funding for the Deal Closing fund at the Department of Commerce by $10 million on the line with the positional to direct an additional $30 million to the Closing Fund by proviso.
Increased funding for the Destination Specific tourism advertising program. This is a public/private partnership that has been proven successful in boosting South Carolina’s tourism economy.
 
Law Enforcement
Over $21 million in new money to the State’s two primary law enforcement departments (SLED, Department of Public Safety).
Provided an additional 3% pay raise for class one officers at DNR, DPS, and PPP - a total raise of 5%.
 
Local Government Fund
Like 50 other state agencies the Local Government Fund was not provided any additional funds - the fund remains at the current level of $182 million.
 
 
In the coming weeks the SC House will be debating the SC Retirement Legislation, the Department of Administration Legislation and the Public/Private Choice Legislation.
 
I will be filing for re-election to the SC House on Friday, March 16th at 12:00 noon. I appreciate the support you have given me over these last two years and I look forward to continuing to serve you and the State of South Carolina with good conservative government. We are moving forward in South Carolina with new jobs, less government, tax reform, good education for all students, and an a atmosphere of transparency and accountability. You are why I serve and I welcome your input, ideas and concerns at all times. My experience is used to serve you in an effective and meaningful way.
 
April 12th is the 60 day window for putting campaign signs up, except on private property. If you would honor me with putting a yard sign in your yard, or if you have an area to put up a large sign….please email or call me and we will have one delivered to you. I thank you in advance for this consideration. 


Because I care,
Rita



Legislative Update from Tommy Stringer


Added on: March 20, 2012

Hello all,  
 

Last week was very busy with the budget debate and the introduction of the tax reform bills. I have posted several articles on these issues to my website that you might of interest.  

    Tax Reform Impact  

    Tax Reform Rationale  

    Tax Reform Details  

    Budget Details  

My website can be found at www.tommystringer.com.  

I appreciate the opportunity to represent you all. 

Best Regards,  Tommy 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Legislative Update


Added on: March 20, 2012

More Information >> http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-31612.php



SC Competitiveness Update


Added on: March 20, 2012

More Information >> http://www.scchamber.net/UserFiles/scchcom/Documents/Advocacy/Competitiveness%20Update/CU_3-16-2012Web.pdf



Upstate likely to feel power shift in Senate


Added on: March 15, 2012

COLUMBIA —

The Upstate's influence could grow as the result of Tuesday's leadership changes in the South Carolina Senate, some senators and political observers say.

While much of Tuesday's political drama concerned the elevation of Sen. Glenn McConnell of Charleston to lieutenant governor and the election of Sen. John Courson of Columbia as president pro tempore, three Senate committees changed chairmen, based on seniority.

Sen. Larry Martin of Pickens, the former chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, became chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, while Sen. Jake Knotts of Lexington County becomes chairman of the Senate Rules Committee and Sen. Billy Odell of Ware Shoals becomes chairman of the Senate Invitations Committee.

Martin said he believes he is the first senator from the Greenville-Pickens area, perhaps from the Upstate, to serve as chairman of the judiciary committee, one of the Senate's two most powerful panels.

"Obviously the influence of the Upstate I think, will be more greatly felt from the standpoint that we've never had someone in that position," Martin told GreenvilleOnline.com.

Chip Felkel, a Greenville Republican political consultant, agreed.

"Certainly it gives the Upstate some added juice, if you will, that it may have been lacking on the Senate side for a while," he said. "Just about everything has to come through judiciary so I think that goes a long way toward helping us regain some of that lost clout."

That clout at one time included legislators such as former U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins, who served as House speaker, former House Speaker Rex Carter of Greenville, the late House Speaker Pro Tempore Terry Haskins and the late Sen. Verne Smith of Greer, one of the Senate's ranking Republicans at the time he resigned due to poor health.

Governors from the Upstate's included former Gov. Dick Riley, a Democrat, and the late Carroll Campbell, a Republican.

Upstate powers

In addition to Martin, five other chairmanships belong to Upstate senators: Sen. David Thomas of Fountain Inn, chairman of the Banking and Insurance Committee; Sen. Mike Fair of Greenville, chairman of the Corrections and Penology Committee; Sen. Danny Verdin of Laurens, chairman of the Agricultural and Natural Resources Committee; Sen. Thomas Alexander of Walhalla, chairman of the General Committee; and Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler of Gaffney, who chairs the Medical Affairs Committee.

Peeler lost to Courson for president pro tempore by a vote of 27-17 Tuesday.

In the House, Rep. Bruce Bannister of Greenville serves as assistant House majority leader, Rep. Brian White of Anderson is chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. William Sandifer of Seneca is chairman of the House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee, Rep. Phil Owens of Easley is chairman of the House Education and Public Works Committee and Rep. Garry Smith of Simpsonville is chairman of the House Operations and Management Committee.

Thomas said Martin's chairmanship is almost as big for the Upstate as when Wilkins became speaker.

He said it means so much because in the Senate, a chairmanship is obtained by seniority, meaning that it takes a long time to earn and a chairman cannot be replaced unless he or she leaves office.

'Major move'

"This is a major move for us," he said. "We've looked for this for a long time."

Tuesday's reshuffling of Senate leadership posts was the result of the resignation of former Lt. Gov. Ken Ard last week.

Ard resigned before State Attorney General Alan Wilson announced he had been indicted on seven counts of ethics violations related to his campaign fund.

Ard was sentenced Friday to five years probation and 300 hours community service.

The state's constitution says the Senate's president pro tempore is next in line if the lieutenant governor leaves office.

But that did not make the choice easy for McConnell, the Senate's top leader since 2001 who had dreaded the scenario of being forced to leave his post for the much less powerful lieutenant governor's job.

On Tuesday, senators, some with emotion in their voices, walked to the podium in a packed chamber that included Gov. Nikki Haley, to praise McConnell's act and service.

South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Jean Toal, who administered the oath to McConnell Tuesday, praised McConnell for agreeing to become lieutenant governor, lauding his "courage, integrity and intense sense of responsibility."

She called McConnell "our bright and shining star."

McConnell said giving up his Senate seat was "a sad moment for me."

"Today we remind the public that oaths of office matter," McConnell told the Senate, "and people should and can expect that whoever takes the oath of office as president pro tempore will do as they swore to do and fulfill the constitutional duty of becoming lieutenant governor, if there is a permanent vacancy."



Update from Rita Allison


Added on: March 13, 2012

A bill designed to fix SC's pension system was approved this week in full committee and will be heading to the House floor for debate after the budget week. About 220,000 public workers are affected. The bill requires newly hired employees to work an additional two years to collect full retirement benefits, while current employees could still retire after 28 years. It requires workers to contribute more towards their retirement; increasing the contribution from 6.5 percent of their salary to 7.5 percent, phasing in over two years. A bipartisan panel crafted this plan over months of deliberation. It will likely be amended as it travels through the House and Senate process.  
 
While many people around the state have been calling for reform of the SC Department of Transportation to stay on the front burner, the flame was doused this week. The DOT reform legislation was kicked back to committee after heated floor debate. It's unlikely we see it again this session. The SCDOT needs reforming, but we must make sure that we do not make a bad system, worse in the process of reform. This week Gov. Haley met privately with House Republicans expressing her desire to work with us to accomplish major reform. The next day she used a different approach. The Governor delivered a speech accusing the House GOP Caucus of not acting like Republicans because budget writers rejected her proposal to cut taxes by $140 million. There was swift reaction from Speaker Bobby Harrell: "The truth is, we have cut taxes over $20 billion since Republicans took control of the House of Representatives, and this year's budget has over $500 million in tax relief. But we are also acting like South Carolinians by protecting our state's ports and funding $180 million to deepen the Charleston Harbor. This is contrary to Governor Haley and her DHEC Board and the state of Georgia over the Savannah River dredging. We understand what is important to Republicans, and we understand what is important to South Carolinians."

The SC House Budget will be debated on the floor this week. It will likely take the full week, as we vote on each line item in the budget. This is a part of the Transparency Law. To watch us go to www.scstatehouse.gov

 
The House Ways and Means Committee approved the Public/Private home-grown school choice bill on a vote of 16-8. It was a major step for
H.4894 which primarily supports low-income students and students with exceptional needs. The plan offers tax credit funded scholarships for those children to attend the independent school of their parents' choice. Tax deductions are offered to parents who send their child to an independent school, home-school or send their child across district lines. Schools accepting these students much post their test scores on line and meet the graduation requirements. House debate will come in the weeks following the budget.

S.C. has open primary elections allowing voters to cross-over to vote in opposing parties primaries. That would change with the passage of
H.3110 which would require party registration to vote in partisan primary. Thirty states currently have closed or semi-closed partisan primaries.
 
The full House approved the bill
(H.4451) that bans texting while driving. The bill calls for violators to receive stiff fines, particularly if they are in an accident with injuries while texting. SC is one of only 8 states with no statewide texting while driving ban. The bill now goes to the Senate. 
 
Another House committee has approved the bill to ban teens from "sexting". The Judiciary Committee voted to send the bill to the House floor. Teens 16 and under could be fined $100 if they forward a "sext." 
 
The South Carolina Department of Commerce has launched a new service called the SC Business Network at
SCBizNetwork.com. The service provides 24-7 resources to small businesses and entrepreneurs interested in turning their business concepts into reality. Its goal is to be a web hub of information and resources to better serve the small business community and unleash the job-creating power of entrepreneurs.     

Because I care,
Rita



SC Competitiveness Update


Added on: March 13, 2012

More Information >> http://www.scchamber.net/UserFiles/scchcom/Documents/Advocacy/Competitiveness%20Update/CU_3-9-2012Web.pdf



Update from Upstate Chamber Coalition


Added on: March 13, 2012

More Information >> http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-3912.php



Washington Update


Added on: March 8, 2012

PLEASE JOIN US FOR A PUBLIC POLICY LUNCHEON FEATURING A WASHINGTON UPDATE FROM CONGRESSMEN TREY GOWDY & JEFF DUNCAN

Thursday, April 5, 2012
Poinsett Club Greenville, SC

Noon-1:00 pm 

Registration & networking will begin at 11:30 am 

Seating is limited. Register here today! 

 



Update from Rita Allison


Added on: March 5, 2012

Legislation to reform the state retirement system will soon be dropped in the SC House. An ad-hoc committee made up of House and Senate members have been working on solutions to reduce its $13 billion deficit. The proposal calls for state workers to pay an extra 1% from each paycheck into the retirement fund - an average increase of $408 a year. Current employees will see little change, but new hires would have to work 30 years, or reach age 65 with five years of service, in order to retire with benefits. Additionally, new hires would be ineligible for the TERI program, the controversial program that allows employees to retire and receive benefits while still working. All of the changes would apply to members of the S.C. Retirement System, the largest of the state's five pension systems, which includes state employees, local government employees and teachers. Police officers, firefighters and other law enforcement officers have their own retirement system.
 
The S.C. House members joined in overturning the Governor's veto of a resolution concerning port expansion. The vote was 111 to 1. Yesterday, the Senate also voted unanimously to overturn her veto. The resolution becomes law. 
 
The bill to ban teens from "sexting" cleared its first legislative hurdle this week. Teens 16 and under could be fined $100 if they forward to others a "sext."  The boy or girl who sends or receives the "sext" would not be penalized. But if they forward it on to a third party, they could be fined by a Family Court judge.
 
The SC House will take up the Budget the week of March 12th. Many of the highlights of the House budget include raises for public employees, including teachers and certain law enforcement officers. Medicaid will be funded to maintain services at the current level. Funds will be provided for workforce training and reducing the unemployment debt. $180 million will be set aside for deepening of the Charleston Harbor and $30 million will go to County Transportation Committees to maintain road infrastructure. We have fully funded state reserve funds and provided $182 million to local governments.

I welcome your input, ideas and concerns. Please call on me anytime! You are why I serve and it has never been more important to get the full information and true facts, than in today’s world of “special interest.” 

Because I care,
Rita



SC Competiveness Update


Added on: March 5, 2012

More Information >> http://www.scchamber.net/UserFiles/scchcom/Documents/Advocacy/Competitiveness%20Update/CU_3-2-2012-Web.pdf



Upstate Chamber Coalition Weekly Update


Added on: March 5, 2012

More Information >> http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-3212.php



SC Competitiveness Update


Added on: February 17, 2012

More Information >> http://www.scchamber.net/UserFiles/scchcom/Documents/Advocacy/Competitiveness%20Update/CU_2-10-2012Web.pdf



ChamberBiz - S.C. Chamber Taking the Fight to Big Labor


Added on: February 17, 2012

More Information >> http://data.scchamber.net/CBizMobileText.aspx



Legislatve Update from Tommy Stringer


Added on: February 17, 2012

Hello all,

I have posted several articles to my website describing my efforts over the last few weeks.

In addition to my regular weekly updates, you might find the following of interest -

SC K-12 Education Statistics - I personally compiled these from the National Center for Education Statistics.

SC Benefit Corporation Act - An innovative bill that encourages increased corporate support of charities.

The Official SC House GOP Agenda - A further description of tax reform, pension reform and right-to-work efforts.

I appreciate the opportunity to represent you all.

Best Regards,

Tommy

 



Upstate from Rita Allison


Added on: February 14, 2012

E-Update

The top item on this year’s Majority Caucus agenda is systemic tax reform.  The committee, which I served on and met during the interim without compensation,  focused on creating a fairer tax code and examined each of the sales tax exemptions on their merit. It then searched the tax code for ways we could be fairer to taxpayers and stimulate the economy. The legislation being written will eliminate nearly two-thirds of the special interest sales tax exemptions, flatten income taxes, lower the sales tax, reform property taxes, and lower burdensome taxes on small businesses.

One agenda item was completed this week with approval of the Right to Work Act. This legislation identified more than a half-dozen places where our Right to Work Act could be strengthened to protect our workers, and protect individual liberty. The bill was pre-filed with the entire Republican Caucus signed on as co-sponsors. Every South Carolinian should have the right to work and make a living for his or her family without being forced to join a union or pay dues. Union participation should be a matter of choice for any worker, but our workers must be protected from undue coercion or influence by unions or businesses.

As a side note:
When the new driver’s license is redesigned a “V” will appear to designate that the person is a Veteran.  The comprehensive license plate legislation that passed the House this week will not prevent that from happening……the DMV needs time to develop the new driver’s license design and get them issued.  This is two different issues of plates and license.

Secondly, I urge all citizens to not give personal information or to talk with people on the phone that you do not know. Also, to not answer emails that you might get from people you do not know. There is a terrible scam out there that is preying on people over the phone and through emails. The same thing can happen through the mail…..if you do not know the person, do not communicate with them. In many cases they will tell you that you have won something, that your bank is changing procedures and etc. If you do not know them or if you are not sure…..call your bank or business that is referred to by the information.

The SC House is on furlough this week to save the state money. We will return the week of February 20th at which time House Ways and Means Committee will begin the budget in full committee.

I wish each of you and yours a very Happy Valentine Day!

Because I care,
Rita



SC Competitiveness Update


Added on: February 3, 2012

More Information >> http://www.scchamber.net/UserFiles/scchcom/Documents/Advocacy/Competitiveness%20Update/CU_2-3-2012Web.pdf



Upstate Chamber Coalition


Added on: February 3, 2012

More Information >> http://www.upstatechamber.org/weekly-update-2312.php



New S.C. immigration law to affect employers


Added on: January 3, 2012

More Information >> http://www.gsabusiness.com/news/42120-new-s-c-immigration-law-to-affect-employers



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