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March 24, 2016 Chamber Website   Facebook Twitter YouTube
Happy Easter Weekend! Spring is officially here! We continue to count our blessings as South Carolinians and we wish everyone a safe and happy Easter holiday.
 
This week….we presented awards at our annual Safety Awards Luncheon. A full list of our winners can be found here. We are proud to highlight those companies who make safety a top priority in the Palmetto State.

Hit any traffic over Spring Break? That’s because negotiations to fix our roads are still going and the House, the Senate, the Governor, and the business community have all weighed in….
 
Meanwhile at the Statehouse….. the House finished its budget this week. Of note in the House-passed budget was $415 million allocated to roads next year. As we have said in the past, $415 million to roads is a step in the right direction, but there is still work to be done to truly address the issue. When the House comes back after its recess it will still need to consider the Senate version of the roads bill which allocates $400 million to roads and reforms the DOT and STIB. We will continue to monitor progress of these bills, however we still believe there is time for the General Assembly to get together to pass $600 million in sustainable, recurring funding for roads while also reforming the DOT and STIB as both sides have already voted to do. As you’ll recall, reforming the DOT and STIB and allocating $600 million in additional, recurring, sustainable funding are two of our top priorities on our Competitiveness Agenda.
 
Here’s a reminder why we believe $600 million is what should be allocated annually to roads – we believe it is a level of funding that can be allocated responsibly by the DOT while also addressing safety, congestion, and ease of commerce at a manageable level:
 
What does $400 million annually achieve over 10 years?
  • 35% of primary pavements ‘Good’
  • Reduce structurally deficient bridges by 50%
  • No improvements to secondary system bridges
  • No widening improvements to address congestion
What does $600 million annually achieve over 10 years?
  •  50% of primary pavements ‘Good’
  •  Eliminates structurally deficient bridges on interstates and primary roads
  •  Eliminates load restricted bridges on secondary system
  •  Addresses pinchpoints and some widenings
Source: Department of Transportation
 
Here’s what President Ted Pitts had to say about the House-passed budget this week:
 
“The business community is glad to see that the House has allocated additional funding for our roads in its budget this year, it is better than nothing.  The business community will continue to push for a long-term solution. South Carolina’s roads and bridges are some of the least safe in the country and are getting worse each day.  The General Assembly still has a chance this year, through permanent legislation, to provide a long term sustainable solution. The Chamber has long called for $600 million in recurring, sustainable funding to make our roads safer and to help our businesses succeed. We will continue to work with the General Assembly to ensure that we provide recurring revenue for our state’s infrastructure needs as well as address reforms at DOT and STIB. This one-time budget allocation is not the answer to our state’s roads problem, there is still work to be done.” Full Text
 
NEWS CLIPS:
Wednesday, May 4 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center
The Salute connects small business contractors with state, federal and private procurement officials, features a lively exhibitor area and recognizes the winners of the Small Business Week awards.
Budget Breakdown: After coming in early on Monday for deliberations, the House Budget received third reading Wednesday morning and now heads to the Senate. Here's a brief overview of the allocations:
  • Infrastructure: $415 million for the DOT State Highway Fund including $49 million for storm recovery reimbursement. The House also allocated an additional $50 million for County Transportation Committees
  • State Employees: The budget plan provides a 2 percent cost-of-living raise to both state employees and K-12 teachers equating to roughly $17 million
  • Education: The House allocated more than $350 million in added money for SC schools which includes $217.6 million to increase to $2,350 a student the money that goes to schools. The budget also includes an additional $258 million for student's in SC's poorest counties in accordance to a 2014 state Supreme Court ruling
Bills on our radar:

H.5109 – South Carolina Business License Tax Standardization Act
Summary: This bill aims to streamline the process for obtaining a business license within South Carolina cities and towns

Chamber Position: Actively pursuing amendments to improve the legislation

STATUS UPDATE: Now currently residing in House LCI Committee

H.4967 - Business License Compliance Reform Act
Summary: This bill simplifies and reforms the business license tax process

Chamber Position: Actively pursuing amendments to improve the legislation

STATUS UPDATE: Now currently residing in House LCI Committee

*Business Licensing Reform is a top priority for the Chamber as detailed in our 2016 Competitiveness Agenda

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: Currently on Senate Calendar

H.3147 -  Military Retirement Income Tax Exemption
Summary: This bill seeks to eliminate income tax on military retirement income in South Carolina

Chamber Position: Support

STATUS: Passed out of Senate Finance Committee favorably as amended

#TOPTWEET

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#MemberNews
  • $15M investment to help VC3 expand IT offerings, geographic footprint...
  • College of Charleston School of Arts to honor Robert A.M. Stern with Albert Simons Medal of Excellence...
  •  Milliken honored by Governor’s School at Daniel Island event... 
  • Windley named president, CEO of South State Bank...
  • Palmetto Health brings Project READY to St. Andrews Middle School...
  •  Perry promoted to Business Development Department Manager at Smith Moore Leatherwood... 
  • Marriott wins over Starwood with bid worth $14.4 billion...
#MemberEvents
  • The US Department of Commerce is hosting a webinar to help exporting companies learn how to use the FTA Tariff Tool. The webinar will be held tomorrow, March 25 from 2:00pm – 3:00pm. Access the webinar here
Does your company have news or an event that you’d like featured in next week’s ChamberBuzz? Send info to membernews@scchamber.net!
 

CHAIRMAN'S CIRCLE

BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina | Duke Energy Carolinas | South Carolina Electric & Gas

 

PRESIDENT'S CIRCLE

AT&T | Bank of America | BB&T of South Carolina | Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, P.A. |  

Kinder Morgan | Michelin North America, Inc. | Milliken & Company | Nexsen Pruet, LLC | 
Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. | Santee Cooper | Sonoco | Wells Fargo

South Carolina Chamber of Commerce | 1301 Gervais Street, Suite 1100 | Columbia, SC 29201
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