Information on the Issues
The Road to Less Potholes
Added on: April 7, 2017
Congested roads, bumps, humps, clanks, accidents; these are the daily occurrences driving the roads of South Carolina. The roads, and debate of funds for the roads, have become a nationally recognized issue. Even the chairman of Michelin North America has gone on record stating that South Carolina roads are a disgrace. South Carolina has the fourth most maintained road mileage in the nation. Coupled with not raising the gas tax in the last thirty year, and a larger than expected growth in population, it is easy to see why our state’s infrastructure is crumbling. The dangers of our roads, along with distracted driving, now has South Carolina ranked number one in the nation for traffic fatality rate.
So what happens now, how do we dig out of this hole before it begins to effect the ever growing business migration into South Carolina? This year the South Carolina House of Representatives introduced House Bill 3516, the SC Infrastructure and Economic Development Reform Act. In the bill’s current amended state, the proposed legislation will raise the gas tax two cents per year for the next six years for a total of twelve cents per gallon by 2022. In addition the new automobile purchase fee would be raised to five percent, but no more than five hundred dollars. Also, to maintain an even playing field for South Carolina’s auto dealers, a two hundred and fifty dollar fee would be applied to any vehicle registered in South Carolina that was purchased outside of the state.
In order for this state, and our local community, to continue to economically thrive our state’s infrastructure desperately requires a very serious upgrade. Upgrades that can only take place with an introduction of money that is earmarked especially for roads, bridges, and traffic safety. The time has come to demand that our representatives embrace raising the gas tax in order to provide a safer environment, a higher quality of life, and to keep the supply of businesses who are willing to relocate to South Carolina.
What is the SC Business License Tax Standardization Act (H3650 and H3651)?
Added on: April 7, 2017
By now it should not be a secret that your chamber has openly opposed H3650 and its sister bill H3651. In order to give you a better sense of why we became vocal and took action to keep small businesses in Greer viable and sustainable entities, you will need to know some key components and history of this proposed legislation.
In the beginning several key interest groups lobbied for a more streamlined, easier approach to pay business license fees throughout the state. Each municipality sets its own due date time table and classifications, a process that can become very cumbersome on small businesses who operate and do business throughout the state in a large number of cities. To ease the burden of the businesses, a common date, classification, and online payment portal would need to be formed.
In February Representative Bill Sandifer of Seneca proposed a bill, H3650, that included key components previously mentioned. However, his bill also included several factors that turned the once resolving legislation into a bill that flipped the financial burden around to small businesses and local municipalities. H3650 proposed that the Secretary of State collect the monies owed to each municipality. The bill does not state at what point the Secretary of State would disperse the money, and at what fee to the municipality. This of course would dip into funds collected by each local government. In addition to the way money is collected, H3650 introduces eleven exemptions to the bill. These exemptions range from lower rates for funeral homes, Representative Sandifer is a funeral home business owner, to exemptions for businesses who perform work inside the city, but do not reside in the city.
Recently the Public Policy Committee and the Executive Board hosted conversations with Ed Driggers, City of Greer Administrator. Mr. Driggers and his staff were one of the first municipalities to dive into the economic impact of H3650. In compiling the financial impact of our community, Mr. Driggers found that eighty-four percent of Greer’s small businesses would be impacted by the legislation. There are one of two ways to make up for the impact, raise fees or lower quality of life services in the city.
H3651 is a bill that would eliminate the ability of the Municipal Association of South Carolina to gather revenue from utility companies. The MASC currently has a staff that does nothing more than regulate and take payments from companies such as Duke Power, CPW, etc. If H3651 were to pass, the City of Greer would have to hire three employees to provide the work that MASC is currently performing. Again, this only adds more cost, and less the city can provide just to meet the current level of service.
Given that the bill pushes so much of the burden on to the small business owners of Greer, your Public Policy and Executive Committee voted unanimously to oppose the exemptions and the collection portion of the bill. As a body who looks out for the best interest of its constituents, we cannot simply stand by idly while the vast majority of our community suffers.