Legislative Update Part 1- the Budget

The House and Senate Conference Committee finished work on the state budget, and both bodies will be voting on it shortly

The Department of Commerce fared well. The Department’s total funds (which consists of general and other funds) increased to $144,031,000 versus last years $117,571,000.

The Conference Committee increased the closing fund from $8 million to $15 million.

The Committee added 3 new positions at Commerce (Econ Dev Mgr. II, Econ Dev Mgr. III, and Econ Dev Dept. Mgr.), and provided $100,000 to the SC Small Business Development Centers. $250,000 was added in Commerce’s base budget for the Council on Competitiveness.

Grant programs for counties was increased from $36 million to $46 million while cities remained unchanged at $4 million

Funding for local Alliances remained unchanged at $5 million as well as Locate SC at $4 million. Beaufort received $140,000 whereas Lancaster ($60,000) was deleted from the Proviso and funding for the I-77 Alliance was increased from $600,000 to $660,000

Legislative Update Part II- down to the wire

Counting today, only 3 regular days left in the legislative session; this is the end of the two year session, so all bills die that don’t pass by next Thursday

Last week the House and the Senate were not giving second reading to a number of the other’s bills; we now have 3 days for several bills to get second and third readings

JOB TAX CREDIT FOR AGRICULTURAL PACKAGING

OPERATIONS

Tabled by W&M; added to House bill in the Senate; bill received third reading in Senate; sent back to House for concurrence/non-concurrence but the House has not taken it up.

SOLAR

Provides 80% property tax exemption for solar equipment; passed Senate and House W&M; on House Calendar. Needs two readings on separate legislative days; the bill came up on the House calendar last Thursday but was carried over

RETAIL REVITALIZATION ACT

House added Proviso to extend RVA, which sunsets this year; since the Proviso is in both the House and Senate versions of the budget very likely to pass

TEXTILE REVITALIZATION ACT

Bill which removes the 50% cap signed into law by the Governor.

JTC/JDCs FOR MROs

Last Thursday W&M added an amendment on the floor of the house to a bill providing jobs tax credits for seasonal agricultural workers; the amendment struck the tax credit for agricultural workers and added an amendment authorizing businesses with a NAICS code of Sector 4481, subsector 488190 to qualify for JTC/JDCs. Subsector 488190 includes other support activities for air transportation; examples: aircraft maintenance and support services (except factory conversions, overhauls, rebuilding) aircraft testing services. An objection was raised that the amendment was not germane; when the objection was overruled, some 18 legislators put the bill on the contested calendar; this effectively kills the bill unless the objections are taken down

COORDINATING COUNCIL FOR WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

Passed House and favorably voted out of Senate Education Committee; on Senate Calendar, but was carried over last Thursday; House included $100,000 in budget for it.