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April 8, 2016 Chamber Website   Facebook Twitter YouTube
BREAKING! DOT AUDIT CONFIRMS WHAT CHAMBER HAS SAID #SCROADS are back in the headlines following the release of the LAC’s audit of the SC Department of Transportation. The findings largely confirmed what the Chamber has been calling for since the announcement of our Competitiveness Agenda back in January. Chamber President Ted Pitts said the following:
 
This audit confirms what the State Chamber has said all along. In order to truly address our infrastructure problem, we need to find a sustainable, diversified revenue stream. As the House special committee prepares to meet on Thursday to consider the Senate plan, we are reminded that there is still time this year to not only fix the DOT, but to address roads funding with at least $600 million of sustainable, recurring funding for our roads. The State Chamber remains committed to working with General Assembly leaders to provide a long-term solution to fixing South Carolina’s roads in order to improve the business climate and keep our citizens safe on their commutes.”
 
REFORM: The presence of a Commission appointed by the General Assembly coupled with a department head appointed by the Governor creates confusion and undermines the authority of both. Changing the governance structure of SCDOT could promote greater decision-making efficiency, establish clearer lines of authority, strengthen oversight, and increase accountability.

FUNDING: SCDOT is heavily reliant on revenues from both the state gas tax and federal transportation funding. SCDOT’s reliance on a per-gallon fuel tax can be problematic since it does not self-adjust for inflation and there has been decreased fuel consumption due to the development of more fuel-efficient cars. Also, the gas tax is regressive, and has a disproportionate impact on low-income consumers. There are alternative revenue sources the S.C. General Assembly should consider in order to diversify or expand the state’s sources of transportation funding.

SAFETY: July 1, 2005, through September 28, 2015, the S.C. Insurance Reserve Fund paid out approximately $40.5 million to claimants who filed damage and injury claims against SCDOT. SCDOT has paid out approximately $3.4 million in claims filed against the agency in this same time frame.

Chamber Affiliated Political Action Committee- SC Good Government Committee:  Help us send serious senators to Columbia: The South Carolina Chamber issued the following statement regarding Senator Bright’s attempt to divert South Carolina’s attention this week from the real issues we face: crumbling roads and building our workforce:

“South Carolina businesses don’t need the government telling them how to run their business. South Carolina businesses already understand the importance of treating people with respect. Sen. Bright is trying to create a political crisis that doesn’t exist to save his political career. Meanwhile, our state has real issues we need to address including crumbling roads and a skills gap. We’ll be working on electing serious senators next year who will be focused on addressing the state’s infrastructure and workforce needs and limiting government’s role in our lives.”

Click here to Donate to the Good Government Committee to elect serious senators in November.
 
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In other news...

Calling all YP’s… We’re putting together a Steering Committee for this year’s LeadSC Summit and we need your help. LeadSC gives Young Professionals the opportunity to network with rising stars in the state and accomplished SC executives. Click here for more information and click here to get involved.

Help us Help SC… The Chamber’s SC Diversity Foundation is teaming up with Midlands Gives for a 24-hour, local online giving challenge on May 3rd. Contributions and matching donations will be used to create the first ever SC Chamber Diversity Foundation Scholarship. Click here to help out!
 
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.
Statehouse Update: Senator Harvey Peeler unexpectedly resigned as Majority Leader Tuesday citing a need to focus on a primary challenger in his district and a desire to share some leadership responsibilities in the Senate. The Republican Caucus met the next day and elected Senator Shane Massey as the new Majority Leader. Sen. Massey has been a pro-business legislator in the past and we look forward to working with him on future #scbiz issues.

The State Chamber applauded the Senate’s approval of S.267 Thursday, a bill to shorten the legislative session.  Chamber President Ted Pitts said, “The business community has long supported a shorter legislative session to improve efficiency and to allow individuals from more professions to serve.” Read his full statement here.

Though the House was still off this week, the House Transportation Infrastructure Ad-Hoc Committee met yesterday to discuss the findings of the SCDOT audit.  Next week, the House will debate the Senate's plan that pledges to designate $400 million yearly from the general fund to roadwork. The State Chamber continues to push for $600 million in recurring, sustainable funding to make our roads safer and to help our businesses succeed.
 
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 UPDATEThe bill currently resides in the House Judiciary Committee. However, as a result of the Georgia State Legislature’s actions regarding eminent domain authority and restrictions on environmental permits issued for petroleum pipeline projects, Kinder Morgan has decided to indefinitely suspend further work on the $1 Billion Palmetto Pipeline project.   

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: Extended debate on this bill occurred on the Senate floor Wednesday but no vote was taken. Deliberations are expected to continue next week. 

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

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#MemberNews
  • O’Neal, Inc. supports STEM efforts by participating in iMAGINE Upstate…
  • Michelin is tops in three of four J.D. Power Original Equipment Customer Satisfaction Segments…
  • McNair Law Firm elects 3 attorneys as shareholders in Charleston office…
  • Spirax Sarco to present at food manufacturing conference April 11…
  • Google South Carolina brings wireless Internet to Moncks Corner ball field…
  • Waldrop Mechanical Services honored with National Excellence in Construction Award for Clemson’s stadium renovation…
  • Simons Johnson elected vice president of Colliers International in Charleston…
  •  Garvin Design Group transforms century-old warehouses into trendy night spot…
#MemberEvents
  • Summerville Chamber to host LinkedIn seminar April 26
  • The Consumer Energy Alliance is hosting an Energy 101 Legislative Breakfast on April 12 at the Palmetto Club starting at 8:30. Click here to RSVP. 
     
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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