SC’s legislative leaders have a chance to complete 2018 Tax Conformity starting with a special session next week, and voices among tax preparers, economists and business leaders are urging them to get it done to avoid complexities for tax filing. “We’ll move from one of the most simple states in filing to one of the most complex,” SC Department of Revenue Director Hartley Powell told a South Carolina Cabinet meeting. The Senate is set to meet Oct. 2, and a Senate committee is expected to advance its Conformity plan to the floor the next day for debate the following week. While there is agreement that a Conformity plan must be revenue neutral and avoid incorporating tax reform elements, the Senate’s plan does have winners and losers depending on income – it is estimated that if this proposal takes effect, 13% of state taxpayers in 2019 would owe more, 43.7% would owe less and 43.6% would be unaffected.
U.S. Rep. Tom Rice, R-Myrtle Beach, pointed to the flooding from Hurricane Florence that forced road closures and isolated many parts of Horry County as a reason to move forward with construction of Interstate 73, a long-planned connector for I-95 and the Grand Strand. The area’s tourism industry has often advocated for the project as a way to attract more visitors, and Rice contends that in an emergency a well-designed modern road would help faster evacuate the population. Opponents say the combination of the unpredictable fury of extreme weather and the county’s complex geography – which includes the Great Pee Dee, Little Pee Dee, Lumber and Waccamaw rivers – would mean any new road would not be immune to flooding.
Charleston Post and Courier personal finance columnist David Slade calls catastrophe savings accounts “an often-overlooked, tax-advantaged way to save and pay for homeowner insurance deductibles in South Carolina,” and writes about how down the road in 2019 one can appeal a tax assessment for damaged property.
South Carolina’s unemployment rate dipped to 3.4% in August, compared to 3.6% in July while nationally the figure held steady at 3.9%, according to the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce. There were 4,000 jobs added to the business and professional ranks while manufacturers lost 1,500 workers. Although the state’s labor pool fell by 3,606 to 2,306,283, there were 4,200 new seasonally adjusted jobs. DEW Executive Director Cheryl Stanton did acknowledge that September will be challenging due to Hurricane Florence recovery.
Greenville earned the No. 21 slot (ahead of Flagstaff, Arizona, but behind Logan, Utah) on Verizon Business’ first “Best Small Cities to Start a Small Business” analysis. The survey of around 300 small cities with populations of 50,000-75,000 considered aspects such as commuting times, income per capita, tax friendliness, workforce education level and broadband access (remember who is conducting the study). Among neighboring states, Alpharetta was the only Georgia city on the list at No. 15, while no North Carolina cities made the cut. Portland, Maine, was deemed the top city.