September 25, 2020
The House and Senate returned to Columbia for the final week of this year’s legislative session. The conference committee dealing with the CARES Act funding met and hammered out the differences between the two versions.
- The largest chunk of the $680 million of remaining funds went to replenish the unemployment trust fund to the tune of $420 million.
- $71 million went to DHEC with $20 million going to MUSC for testing.
- $40 million was agreed upon for grants to small- and minority-owned businesses under 15 employees.
- $25 million was allocated for nonprofits.
On Wednesday, the conference committee adopted the House language so small- and minority-owned businesses have a $40 million pool to apply from. This was a large piece of the GrowSC agenda, and though it’s not our original ask, it is much better than the Senate version. The conference report was adopted by both chambers.
The Senate concurred with the House amendments on the affordable housing bill S.207. The legislation gives affordable housing partnerships the same property tax exemptions currently afforded to nonprofit affordable housing corporations. The legislation incentivizes private developers and investors to partner with SC Public Housing Authorities. This is another big win for our 2020 Legislative Agenda.
Finally, both the Senate and House adopted the free conference report for business license fee reform. The bill included narrow language allowing third party vendors to collect fees from delinquent businesses used by small municipals in the state. Although not a perfect solution, the reform is much better than what we currently have. With limited time remaining, we felt it wasn’t the time to let perfect be the enemy of good. Nearly every business group or association and the Municipal Association agreed to the compromise.
Three more wins in just a couple of days. It’s been a great year for the Chamber in the General Assembly, with:
- Two affordable housing bills passed
- The angel investor tax credit reauthorized
- Passage of the Military Service, Education and Credentialing Act
- Adoption of business license fee reform
- A $40 million grant program for small businesses who’ve been most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic
We cannot thank our delegation enough for their leadership and recognizing the needs of the business community in this difficult year. If you run into your House or Senate member, please thank them.
Be on the lookout over the next couple of weeks for our annual legislative scorecard. Have a great weekend!
Senior Director of Legislative Relations
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