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​From the Dome to Your Home

The SC General Assembly met in regular session this week. The House of Representatives worked through uncontested bills on the calendar, while the Senate continued debate on its version of the education reform bill. Members of a House subcommittee heard testimony on H4431, the business license bill, for three hours on Wednesday.

Business License Bill in Subcommittee
The House Labor, Commerce and Industry Business License Fees Ad Hoc subcommittee met on Wednesday, January 22, for more than three hours hearing testimony from businesses, cities and towns, counties and special interest groups. Mayor Rick Osbon, City of Aiken and Municipal Association of South Carolina third vice president; and Scott Slatton, Municipal Association Director of Advocacy and Communications, testified on behalf of cities and towns. Kai Nelson, chief financial officer from the City of Greenville, also testified.

All of the parties that testified agreed that standardization of the business licensing process would be good for businesses and cities. However, there is still strong disagreement about changing the basis for calculating the business license tax. Cities and towns have consistently resisted changes to business licensing that would negatively effect municipal revenues. That position was reiterated at the subcommittee meeting.

The Municipal Association supports standardization of the business license process and opposes anything that reduces revenue to cities and towns. The Association has been negotiating standardization in good faith with the proponents of the bill and is committed to finding a resolution that's best for cities and businesses.

The subcommittee did not take action on the bill, but instructed stakeholders to meet on compromise language. The subcommittee plans to meet again in two weeks to hear further work from stakeholders.

If you have a member on the House Labor, Commerce and Industry Business License Fees Ad Hoc subcommittee, please continue to call them and support standardization. If your House member is listed as a sponsor on the bill, please call them and ask them to remove their name as a sponsor. If you need copies of the talking points, email Casey Fields (cfields@masc.sc) and she will email those to you. For questions on H4431, contact Scott Slatton (sslatton@masc.sc) at 803.933.1203.

Hometown Legislative Action Day 2020
Hometown Legislative Action Day is scheduled for Tuesday, February 4, 2020, at the Marriott in Columbia. Registration and hotel information are available now. The preregistration deadline has passed. Onsite registration is available on the day of the conference.

Weekly bill introductions
Access bills that were introduced this week and bills that received action from a subcommittee or committee through our legislative tracking system complete with short summaries. Visit the legislative tracking system to see and comment on all bills pending in the House and Senate.

Stay in Touch
The Municipal Association legislative team is on Twitter bringing you updates from the State House when legislators are in Columbia for session. Follow Melissa Harrill (@MelissaMuniSC) and Scott Slatton (@ScottMuniSC) on Twitter for updates. Also follow the Association at @MuniAssnSC.