As you all know, the Chamber, on behalf of the South Carolina business community, has been pushing for our state’s policy makers to address the state of our roads and bridges. The Chamber has called for the DOT to be accountable to the Governor, for STIB to be reformed, and for $600 million in additional funding annually from a recurring and sustainable revenue stream.
An important hurdle was cleared this week with the Senate finally adopting a plan after having the House’s proposal for almost a year. The Senate’s action is an important milestone but there is still work that needs to be done to get to an agreement.
Though slightly different, both the House and Senate plans reform DOT and STIB as the Chamber has called for. Both plans call for $400 million additional dollars each year, but they use different revenue streams to get there. The House plan includes allocating gas tax and vehicle tax revenue to roads and the Senate plan proposes using only existing streams of revenue from the General Fund.
Progress is important and getting governance reform at the DOT and STIB as well as $400 million in additional recurring revenue annually is a win. It does not mean that the roads issue has been adequately addressed though. With only $400 million a year, the DOT cannot fully address the safety and congestion concerns that are brought about by South Carolina's roads.
The Chamber will continue to be active in this debate that is critical to the future of our state. We appreciate our members being engaged on this issue, your voice as part of the voice of the business community has made an impact.
Sincerely, Ted Pitts
President & CEO
South Carolina Chamber of Commerce
BREAKING: Today, the Senate gave third reading to a bill that will reform the DOT and STIB to increase accountability and provide our roads with $400 million additional recurring dollars. After third reading today, it's headed back to the House. This debate is long from over.....President Ted Pitts released the following statement on the Senate's vote:
“The business community appreciates the South Carolina Senate advancing a roads plan that reforms DOT, addresses STIB, and provides recurring revenue for our state’s infrastructure needs. This plan is a step in the right direction, but the Chamber will continue to push for $600 million in recurring, sustainable funding to make our roads safer and to help our businesses succeed.”
Lay of the land… Now the bill gets sent back to the House. An anticipated lack of support for the Senate plan appears to have the bill headed to a conference committee where the two Chambers will each appoint three conferees to work out their differences.
The Chamber is proud of our efforts to bring about governance reform and make the DOT and STIB more transparent and accountable. While we still believe that $600 million is the additional amount needed annually to increase safety and decrease congestion on our roads, we do believe that $400 million in recurring, annual funding is a step in the right direction. We will continue to be engaged in this debate as the bill moves over to the House next week.
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Bills on our radar:
S.868– Eminent Domain for Pipeline Companies Summary: This bill as amended prohibits condemnation authority by a specific energy industry sector.
Chamber Position: The SC Chamber testified in opposition to an amendment approved by subcommittee which sets a precedent for singling out a specific industry sector and has the potential to limit future energy infrastructure development in South Carolina.
STATUS UPDATE: Introduced in the House and referred to Committee on Judiciary
H.4717 – S.C. Farm Aid Fund Summary: This bill allows farmers with total crop losses of 40% or greater from the flood to be eligible for a limited state grant.
Chamber Position: Support
STATUS UPDATE: Introduced in the Senate and referred to the Finance Committee
H.4967 - Business License Compliance Reform Act Summary: This bill addresses and reforms the business license tax process
Chamber Position: Actively working on reforms to make more business friendly STATUS UPDATE: Now currently residing in House LCI Committee
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The TDL Council and the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness are hosting the 2016 South Carolina TDL Summit on Tuesday, March 22 from 9am-4pm in Columbia. Gain insight from the leading voices in business, government, higher education and the community on where we've been, where we're headed and what's next. Purchase tickets here.
Volvo will be hosting a construction-based Subcontractor Outreach event on Wednesday, March 30 from 3-5pm at Trident Technical College. Please contact Myra Dix at 843-719-4175 or email@example.com for more information.
Does your company have news or an event that you’d like featured in next week’s ChamberBuzz? Send info to firstname.lastname@example.org!