By Copper Dome Strategies

Friday, Oct. 4, 2019

In this edition: The Business License Tax Collection Study Committee met on Thursday, Oct. 3. Legislators will have more money to meet critical needs when the General Assembly returns to Columbia in January. Also, the Aiken County delegation welcomes a new member.

BUSINESS LICENSE TAX COLLECTION STUDY COMMITTEE

The Business License Tax Collection Study Committee held its first and only meeting on Thursday, Oct. 3.

While the focus of the committee was intended to address third-party collections, several business owners spoke in favor of wholesale reform of the way business license fees are collected. In the end, the committee recommended the Municipal Association of South Carolina postpone implementation of its statewide portal for collections. They agreed to look at a standardized process via legislation next year and consider placement of a portal in the Secretary of State’s office.

Legislation was introduced in the House in April, H. 4431 (Reps. Jordan, Fry, Rose, Atkinson, Daning and Forrest), that would provide business license tax reform.

This committee was created by a budget proviso to study reform and implementation of a third-party collection system for business license taxes. The proviso creating the committee can be found here.

BUDGET

State budget writers will once again have more revenue to draft a state budget for the FY 2020-21 fiscal year. The State Comptroller General closed the books in August and reported ending the fiscal year with a $177 million surplus. Additionally, general fund revenues (tax collections) grew at 8% or $698 million – the largest dollar increase in state history – and exceeded the previous largest year by $155 million. The increase is due to continued growth in sales and individual income tax and continued growth in the corporate sector.

The Board of Economic Advisors said our economy is strong and steady, employment is at record highs, unemployment is at record lows and our population growth is among the nation’s fastest. Moving forward, in addition to the one-time surplus revenues, the $8 billion recurring base budget should increase by $300 million-$500 million next year. The first estimate from the BEA comes out in November. State agencies budget requests were submitted to the state budget office in September.

NEW MEMBER

Republican Melissa Oremus won the District 84 special election in Aiken County on Oct. 1. Oremus was unopposed, as no Democrats filed for the vacant seat. She defeated five other Republicans over the course of the summer, most recently beating fellow small-business owner Alvin Padgett in a primary runoff in August. Oremus is the owner of multiple small businesses in Aiken, including Bisquecuts & Glazy. The special election followed the death of state Rep. Ronnie Young, a freshman House member who was elected in May 2017 after serving as Aiken County Council chairman for many years.

UP NEXT

The second session of the 123rd legislative session will commence in January 2020. Copper Dome Strategies LLC will continue to keep you apprised of any activity by the General Assembly during the off session.