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​​From the Dome to Your Home

The Senate met in regular session this week, while the House of Representatives took this week off. House members will return on Tuesday, April 3, in regular session. The Senate will take a week off, returning on Monday, April 9, to begin debate on its version of the budget. The crossover deadline for bills to pass the originating chamber is Tuesday, April 10. This week brought good forward motion on several bills important to cities and towns.

Senate Finance Subcommittee approves two municipal friendly bills
The Senate Finance Sales and Income Tax subcommittee gave a unanimous favorable report to both S1043, the Abandoned Buildings and Revitalization Act extension, and S426, the Municipal Tax Relief Act.

S1043, as amended by the subcommittee, extends the tax credit until 2021. Passed in 2013, the Act created an incentive for the rehabilitation, renovation and redevelopment of abandoned buildings in South Carolina. S1043 and H4816, the House version of the bill, will ensure the incentive remains in place to give developers certainty for future projects planned after the incentive's current sunset in 2019. Download the summary and talking points for S1043/H4816.

S426, the Municipal Tax Relief Act, would allow a municipality to impose a sales tax, through a referendum, not to exceed one percent, for municipal tax relief and for specified capital projects. The subcommittee amended the bill to add a minimum 20 percent property tax credit; cap local sales taxes at 9 percent; allow a city to initiate the sales tax referendum county-wide and allow a city to initiate a municipal tax referendum if the county vote fails or if the county decides not to hold a referendum. Melissa Carter, research and legislative liaison, testified at the hearing on Thursday in favor of the bill. Local officials testified at a previous hearing on S426. Download the summary for S426. The MTRA is one of the 2018 Municipal Association Advocacy Initiatives.

Next, both bills will be on the full Senate Finance Committee agenda for debate. Contact Melissa Carter (mcarter@masc.sc) at 803.933.1270 with questions on these bills.

Senate version of utility relocation bill passed by the Senate
The Senate gave third and final reading to S932, the Senate version of the utility relocation bill. This bill requires the owner of a road improvement project, such as the S.C. Department of Transportation, to bear the cost of relocating a public utility's water and sewer lines. Now, the Senate bill will go to the House for debate. Read more about this issue in the April issue of Uptown.

The House version of the bill, H3739, is on the contested calendar for debate by the full House. Utility relocation is one of the 2018 Municipal Association Advocacy Initiatives. Scott Slatton has been a member of a long-standing study committee on utility relocation that worked on language for S932. For questions on this bill, contact Scott (sslatton@masc.sc) at 803.933.1203.

Senate Finance Committee adopts its version of the budget
The Senate Finance Committee adopted its version of the budget and kept many of the same funding amounts as the House version of the budget.

  • Beach renourishment funded at $11 million.
  • The 1 percent pension employer contribution credit in the FY 2018 budget is funded at the same level in the FY 2019 budget.
  • $500,000 in nonrecurring post-traumatic stress disorder funding for first responders. This money was in the FY2018 budget, but it was not included in the House version of the budget passed earlier this month.

Contact Melissa Carter (mcarter@masc.sc) at 803.933.1251 for information on specific budget items.

Stay in touch
The Municipal Association legislative team is on Twitter this session bringing you updates from the State House lobby and committee and subcommittee meetings. Follow Melissa Carter (@MelissaMuniSC), Scott Slatton (@ScottMuniSC) and Tiger Wells (@TigerMuniSC) on Twitter for updates. Also follow the Association at @MuniAssnSC. Read the week's featured tweet from the State House.

Weekly bill introductions
Use the Association's legislative tracking system to access bills that were introduced this week and bills that received action from a subcommittee or committee. The system also allows readers to comment on all bills related to local government pending in the House and Senate.

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Weekly legislative action