As part of SCACPA’s dedication to Advocacy on behalf of the CPA Profession, here is your weekly update of actions being taken during the 124th Legislative Session, prepared in cooperation with our lobbying partner, Copper Dome Strategies.
Friday, May 28, 2021
Several subcommittees of the House Ways and Means Committee met this week to hear agency requests as they draft their revised version of the state budget. A Conference Committee met Wednesday to resolve differing versions of legislation relating to state-owned utility Santee Cooper.
All federal, pandemic-related unemployment benefit programs will be terminated statewide effective June 30. The termination is due to an unprecedented workforce shortage, including those in the hospitality, tourism, manufacturing and healthcare sectors. For more details, click here.
COVID Vaccination Reminder: All South Carolinians aged 12 and older are eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. Online appointments can now be made at scdhec.gov/vaxlocator. For more information from DHEC on the virus, click here. Stay safe!
SINE DIE ADJOURNMENT
The General Assembly has adopted H.4285 (Reps. Lucas, Simrill and Rutherford), a Concurrent Resolution to allow the bodies to meet post adjournment at the call of the President Pro Tem of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives to consider certain specified matters, including the state budget. The schedule is as follows:
June 1-3 – Full Ways and Means Committee deliberations
June 8-10 – House Floor Budget deliberations
June 14-18 – Conference Committee meets
June 21-23 – Conference Report adopted by both chambers
June 29 – Address gubernatorial vetoes
The General Assembly will also meet again in the fall to address redistricting and to appropriate the $2.1 billion in federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act and the $525 million from the Savannah River Site (SRS) lawsuit settlement.
Several budget subcommittees of the House Ways and Means Committee met this week to hear agency requests as they draft their revised version of the state budget. After receiving the Senate amended version of the FY21-22 General Appropriations Act, H.4100 (Ways and Means Committee) last month, the House committed the bill back to the Ways and Means Committee. Following passage of the House version of the budget in March, the State Board of Economic Advisors (BEA) raised the budget estimate by $203 million. Legislators now have $385 million in new recurring revenue to appropriate for the next fiscal year beginning July 1, 2021. One-time surplus revenue is now estimated to be $1.334 billion.
Monday, the Healthcare Subcommittee heard presentations from the Department of Mental Health, the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), the Department of Social Services (DSS) and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). DHEC Director Dr. Edward Simmer told the subcommittee 1.6 million South Carolinians have been fully vaccinated, but there is still work to be done. The state has received an additional $216 million in federal funds to address the pandemic.
DHHS Director Robbie Kerr told the subcommittee the agency is requesting $92 million for Medicaid Maintenance of Effort for program increases, including $60 million for coordinated care rate increases. The House had funded $16 million in their original version of the budget, and the Senate had reduced that amount to $14 million. Kerr noted the Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (FMAP) had increased 10% for home and community-based funding, and the agency is examining what they can do with those funds.
Representatives of homecare provider services testified in support of an additional $6.5 million for DHHS to address the workforce crisis in personal care services. Chris Lewis, representing the SC Home Care and Hospice Association, noted the additional funds were necessary to increase provider rates in order to provide competitive salaries and meet the growing needs of the unserved.
All agency directors mentioned the need for additional funding for staff salaries and filling vacant positions.
Tuesday, the Higher Education Subcommittee heard from the Commission on Higher Education (CHE). President and Executive Director Dr. Rusty Monhollon told the subcommittee South Carolina’s colleges and universities very effectively pivoted during the pandemic. He urged the subcommittee to adopt the Senate version of higher education funding and requested even more funding be added to tuition mitigation efforts (recurring base funding). He noted no public college or university in the state raised tuition for the 2020-21 academic year. Following his presentation, there was considerable discussion about the issue of deferred maintenance and the viability of the higher education system in our state. Click here to view the subcommittee hearing.
The full Ways and Means Committee will meet next week to adopt a revised budget. The full House will return on June 8 for budget debate on the floor.
The Senate did not amend the House-passed version of the Capital Reserve Fund H.4101 (Ways and Means Committee), which appropriates one-time and surplus revenue. It is enrolled for ratification.
In addition to the annual state budget, the General Assembly must still determine how to appropriate $2.1 billion in federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. Also up for debate is the $525 million from the Savannah River Site (SRS) settlement, much of which is likely to be directed to the three-county region primarily impacted by SRS. Those decisions are likely to occur sometime in the fall of this year.
The governor’s executive budget can be found here.
Individual state agency budget requests can be found here.
The Senate Finance Committee budget spreadsheet can be found here.
The House Legislative Oversight Committee met on Monday to continue a review of DHHS. The committee’s goal is to determine if agency laws and programs are being implemented and carried out in accordance with the intent of the General Assembly and whether they should be continued, curtailed or eliminated. The meeting this week focused on the BabyNet program, behavioral health crisis services, therapeutic foster care, opioid crisis strategies, home and community-based services and replacement of the Medicaid Management Information System.
Information about the committee and its work and a link to submit public input can be found here.
The full House Ways and Means Committee will meet to adopt their revised version of the state budget.
REAR VIEWS 2021
Look to SCACPA’s “View from the Dome” updates on the SCACPA website and our social media every week during the legislative session and beyond. You can always stay up-to-date with SCACPA’s respective blog pages for Governmental Topics, Legislative Topics and Regulatory Topics.
May 21: General Fund Revenues are $412M Above Expected Collections, Per BEA Report
May 14: Conformity Bill Awaits Gov.’s Signature; Decouples with 10 Federal Provisions, Exempts $10,200 of Unemployment Payments
May 7: Tax Conformity Bill Reaches Calendar for Senate Readings
April 30: With Two Weeks Left in Legislative Session, Here are 10 Tax Bills About to be Considered by the Full SC House Ways and Means Committee
April 23: House is Signaling its Approval of Senate’s COVID-19 Liability Safe Harbor Act
April 16: Crossover Deadline Passes, Senate Finance Committee Starts Draft of New $31B State Budget
April 9: Conformity Moves Through House, with Tax Break for $10,000 in Unemployment Benefits
April 2: Senate Approves Bill Concerning Attorney’s Fees Connected to DOR Actions
March 26: House Receives Senate’s Bill for Pass-Through Trade and Business
March 19: Conformity Begins its Journey with Approval from a House Ways and Means Subcommittee
March 12: Senate Finance Committee to Consider a Pass-Through Trade and Business Bill
March 5: House Ways and Means Committee is Cautious With its Version of State Budget
Feb. 26: Senate Approves “COVID-19 Liability Safe Harbor Act,” Bill Now Heads to House
Feb. 19: Senate Sets Priority on COVID-19 Liability Safe Harbor Act as its Debate Continues
Feb. 12: Senate to Consider Personal Finance Courses Requirement to Replace Economics Classes for High Schoolers
Feb. 5: Senate Nears Approval of $200M from Reserve Fund for Vaccine Distribution
Jan. 29: DOR Tells Economic Development Subcommittee That SC’s Tax Revenues are Strong
Jan. 22: Board of Economic Advisors Places State’s Tax Revenue Collections at $336M Above Forecast
Jan. 15: McMaster Delivers State of the State, Recommends $123M More for Small Business Grants
Jan. 8: 2021 Legislative Session “Pre-View from the Dome”
Dec. 18: A First Look at Pre-Filed Tax Legislation of Interest for the 2021 Legislative Session