Hometown Legislative Action Day features tax and law enforcement experts

The first regular session of the 122nd South Carolina General Assembly starts this month, as does the new Congress and a new presidential administration. With so much change underway, this year’s Hometown Legislative Action Day on February 1 will bring elected leaders and experts together to lay out what the new dynamics could mean for South Carolina’s cities and towns.

S.C. Department of Transportation Secretary Christy Hall
S.C. Department of Transportation Secretary Christy Hall will
speak at the 2017 Hometown Legislative Action Day.

At the state level, two legislative panels will address priority issues for the new session.

The first panel will focus on the work of the House Tax Policy Review Committee. House Speaker Jay Lucas commissioned the committee to look at the three major sources of tax revenue in the state — income, sales and property taxes — and making recommendations to members about how to spread the tax burden more fairly.

The committee’s chairman, Rep. Tommy Pope, along with other members, Reps. Todd Atwater, Mandy Powers Norrell, Joe Daning and Chandra Dillard, will share their thoughts about the work of the committee and possible changes to the state’s tax system.

Committee members have heard from state tax experts, municipalities and counties, the business community and residents voicing their perspectives on taxes. The members have discussed eliminating certain sales tax exemptions, making changes to Act 388 and decreasing the state income tax.

A central discussion among committee members has been the unintended consequences of Act 388, the 2006 legislation that shifted the burden of property taxes to 6 percent properties and capped cities’ and towns’ ability to increase millage rates beyond a specific calculation.

Following the tax policy review panel during the opening session, Sens. Luke Rankin and Shane Massey will provide a legislative outlook, giving their perspectives on priorities of cities and towns for the 2017 session. Rankin is the new chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Massey is the Senate majority leader.

Secretary of Transportation Christy Hall will brief attendees on the status of the S.C. Department of Transportation and the outlook for road funding in the new legislative year.

HLAD speakers will also address law enforcement trends and proposals. Serving on the panel are Criminal Justice Academy Director Jackie Swindler, S.C. Department of Social Services Law Enforcement Liaison Larry McNeil and Ryan Alphin, executive director of the S.C. Law Enforcement Officers’ Association and the S.C. Police Chiefs Association.

To bring a federal perspective, Clarence Anthony, executive director of the National League of Cities, will explain what a new president and changes in the makeup of the U.S. House and Senate will mean for issues important to local governments.

The deadline to register for HLAD and the Municipal Elected Officials Institute Sessions A and B is Wednesday, January 18. Make hotel reservations at the Marriott Columbia by January 5, and ask for the Municipal Association of SC HLAD rate of $149 plus taxes.

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Connect with colleagues and get up-to-the-minute meeting information on your Android or Apple smartphones and tablets. Download the mobile HLAD app by searching for MuniAssnSC in the App Store or Google Play, or view the web version of the app.