SC House Committee Shake Up The SC House of Representatives met this week to adopt rules and assign committees. One key committee shake up came to Ways and Means. Speaker Jay Lucas (R-Darlington) handed out committee assignments on Wednesday morning, reassigning Rep. Brian White (R-Anderson) to the Labor, Commerce & Industry Committee. Prior to Wednesday’s change, White had been Chairman of the Ways & Means Committee since 2011. In a statement, Speaker Lucas called White a “good man, a friend” and excellent chairman, adding that he believes “positive change is necessary to diligently address upcoming budget items.”
Rep. Murrell Smith (R-Sumter) was elected as Chairman of Ways and Means on Wednesday afternoon. “We’re a team here guys,” Smith told his colleagues following the vote for chairman. “It’s an honor for me to be elected. We’re going to get through this, and we’re going to have a good budget this year.”
Other committee changes came to Judiciary and Ethics.
The House Judiciary Committee will now be chaired by Rep. Peter McCoy (R-Charleston). Following his election as Chairman, McCoy took to Facebook to thank his fellow committee members and constituents. "Extremely honored to be selected to chair the SC House Judiciary Committee by my peers. I am so thankful to my colleagues who have trusted me to undertake this awesome responsibility. To the voters on James Island, Folly, Kiawah, & Seabrook; thank you so much for allowing me to serve. I will continue to work day in and day out to make y’all proud and do all I can to represent ALL of the district and their interests," he wrote.
Rep. Mike Pitts (R-Laurens) who served as Chairman of the Ethics committee stepped down as Chairman, telling the press that he needed to de-stress following a heart attack in October. (The Ethics Committee’s chairman was listed as Rep. Murrell Smith on the legislative webpage at press time.)
White Statement Regarding Committee Shift Following the news of his reassignment to LCI, Rep. Brian White (R-Anderson) issued the following statement:
South Carolina’s roads and bridges will continue to be one of the top issues facing the state for many years to come. As the new state revenues are phased in, SCFOR understands the importance of publicly promoting both progress and patience; while continuing to urge policymakers at all levels of government to be proactive about infrastructure needs and investments.
Questions regarding your 2019 SCFOR membership? Please contact Jennifer Patterson via email email@example.com or by phone at (803)417-6256.
SC Chamber Releases “Roadmap to Tax Reform” The SC Chamber of Commerce released a report this week that calls for major reforms to South Carolina’s current tax system. The report was produced by the Washington-based Tax Foundation and includes a plethora of options for the legislature to consider in the upcoming session.
Consumer Behaviors Are Impacting the Tax Base This week, the Senate Finance subcommittee on tax reform co-chaired by Senator Sean Bennett (R-Dorchester) and Senator Vincent Sheheen (D-Kershaw) met to hear from Frank Rainwater, Executive Director of the SC Revenue & Fiscal Affairs Office and Jared Walczak of the Tax Foundation to discuss the group’s recent report.
When it comes to income tax reductions, Rainwater noted that it was important to differentiate between the optics and reality of the tax reform debate because South Carolina’s exemptions impact the true amount of income that is being taxed.
However, Rainwater and Walczak both noted that South Carolina’s tax base was eroding. This can primarily be attributed to an aging population, an increasingly service oriented economy, and the impact of technology on consumer options. (For example, Rainwater noted that tangible property could be better defined for tax purposes given that a person could buy a CD and pay sales tax, yet download the same music online and not be subject to sales taxes.)
Walczak provided a brief overview of the Roadmap report’s findings and suggestions. He called South Carolina’s current tax system outdated and encouraged legislators to look at ways to streamline and promote growth.
Tax reform has been an ongoing issue for many years, dating back to the 2010 Tax Realignment Commission (TRAC) which took a comprehensive look at the same issues. To say tax reform will be overwhelming and complex is an understatement. However, legislators in both chambers seem set on working to address reforms in some form in the coming year(s). Will 2019 be the year for tax reform? Stay tuned…
Other members of the subcommittee include Senator Glenn Reese (D-Spartanburg), Senator Tom Davis (R-Beaufort), Senator John Scott (D-Richland), Senator Greg Gregory (R-Lancaster) and Senator Tom Corbin (R-Greenville).