The Senate Finance Taxation System Review and Reform Subcommittee held its first meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 17.

The subcommittee will be co-chaired by Sen. Sean Bennett (R-Dorchester) and Sen. Vincent Sheheen (D-Kershaw). It was formed by Senate Finance Chairman Hugh Leatherman (R-Florence) to review and propose ways to reform South Carolina’s tax code.

Subcommittee Chairman Bennett, who was the driving force behind the establishment of the committee, acknowledged that there has been no shortage of previous tax study committees and that it will be a challenge to address the many constituencies that will be affected.

Chairman Bennett noted that sales tax exemptions will be one of the most difficult topics to navigate. But he characterized South Carolina’s current tax structure as broken and inefficient and that changes are necessary to ensure a vibrant and growing economy.

During the organizational meeting, other committee members weighed in on what they would like to see addressed, including income tax, sales tax exemptions, local taxes and the property tax rules of Act 388.

Sen. Tom Davis (R-Beaufort) noted that they could look into sunsetting all sales tax exemptions and requiring interested parties to make their case for extending the exemptions moving forward in order to switch the burden to the proponents.

Other members are Sen. Glen Reese (D-Spartanburg), Sen. John Scott (D-Richland), Sen. Greg Gregory (R-Lancaster) and Sen. Tom Corbin (R-Greenville).

The subcommittee staff provided members with a trove of documents to begin their research. The committee plans to review the work of the TRAC (Tax Realignment) Commission and the recent House Tax Study Committee.

Chairman Bennett said they are interested in looking to local, state and national organizations to weigh in or testify before the subcommittee moving forward.

The subcommittee plans to have at least one meeting before the end of 2018 to hear testimony on the current tax structure and take a historical look at changes over the past 50 years.

SCACPA will keep all its Members apprised of the subcommittee’s work. It’s certain that few topics will be left out of the discussion.