Hurricane Dorian Damage Assessments are Being Collected to Calculate Cleanup Costs

As South Carolina’s coastal residents clear the debris caused by Hurricane Dorian, municipal workers have begun to haul it away and governments at the state and local level will begin assessments of how many extra collection services will be needed and then sort out who will pay for that. The S.C. Emergency Management Division awaits damage assessments from local governments before they will petition for relief funding from President Donald Trump, who could declare an emergency or disaster so FEMA and the state may reimburse cities for debris removal contractor costs. According to a Charleston spokesman, Dorian left behind less than 2016’s Matthew but more than 2017’s Irma. FEMA paid South Carolina $245.5 million for public work after Matthew that went toward debris removal and infrastructure repair. (Post and Courier)

Court Rules that Amazon Owes State for Third-Party Sales

A South Carolina court has ruled that Amazon must pay state sales tax from transactions for goods between SC buyers and third-party vendors bought through the online retailer’s website. Chief Administrative Law Judge Ralph King Anderson’s decision does not specify how much money is at stake but that the DOR “will calculate the specific amount of taxes owed on the sales at issue in this case.” In 2017, the DOR calculated that Amazon neglected to collect $12.5 million in taxes, penalties and interest for a three-month period in 2016 for third-party sales. SCDOR director Hartley Powell described the decision as “affirming what the department has maintained from the beginning.” Amazon insists third-party sellers are responsible for collecting and remitting the taxes, and an Amazon spokesperson told The State newspaper that the decision is “inconsistent with the facts established at trial and the applicable law.” South Carolina has collected more than $40 million since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling that a state could place a sales tax on online retailers who do not have a physical presence in the state. (The State)

GSP Airport’s $33 Million Cargo Facility Expansion is Primed to Boost Upstate’s Supply Chain

Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport’s $33 million commercial cargo facility expansion is ready to facilitate the air-freight traffic that has more than doubled going back a decade. Construction for the 110,000-square-foot warehouse began in July of last year and replaces a 20,000-sqaure-foot facility. A 17-acre concrete parking pad is wide enough to fit three Boeing 747 800 freighters. With high demand for Siemens MRI machines and BMW components, the Upstate’s state-of-the-art manufacturing plants rely on highly integrated supply chains, and the facility’s operations are led by logistics firm Senator International. GSP’s cargo business growth has increased 110% since 2013, compared to a 26% rise across the U.S. and 27% growth in the South, according to federal data. GSP is the only airport in the Carolinas that has regular international flights: once a week to Mexico and twice to Germany. (Greenville News)

Sides Weigh in on Infrastructure Debate to Raise Federal Gasoline Tax

As Congress looks for ways to stabilize highway and infrastructure funding, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is continuing its campaign to raise the federal gasoline tax, which is over 18 cents per gallon and every penny of gasoline tax brings in $1.8 billion. The Chamber’s proposed increase of five cents per gallon for the next five years would add up to around $9 per month for the typical motorist. Meanwhile, Americans for Prosperity has a campaign against higher fuel taxes and it is never easy to raise taxes during an election year. Gas tax revenue is expected to drop in the coming decade as vehicles become more fuel efficient, the Congressional Budget Office points out. “This (a higher federal fuel tax) is something we would support,” said an executive director for the South Carolina Alliance to Fix Our Roads, a coalition of businesses and trade associations. (The State)

Newberry Makes Online Hospitality Tax Forms Available

The City of Newberry’s finance department can now accept online hospitality submissions from city hotels and restaurants. When visiting cityofnewberry.com and clicking the “Pay Bills” tab, visitors will see a link labeled “Local Hospitality Tax Payments” that connects to the secure SC.Gov website where they can complete the form. Prior to the service being offered online, Finance Director Shannon Smith said the form had to be picked up at City Hall and then mailed with a check. (City of Newberry)

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

“We know that the cleanup from the storm will not happen overnight. We are expecting to get some help.”

Martine Wolfe-Miller, Mount Pleasant town spokeswoman, on municipal sanitation crews resuming their normal pickup schedule after cleaning the large of road debris due to Hurricane Dorian, including 88 fallen trees