This week, the General Assembly returned to Columbia for the first of a two week session to address CARES Act funding, deciding between passing a budget or remaining under the continuing resolution at last year’s funding level and passing any bills that aren’t contested on their calendars.
The Senate and House both passed CARES Act funding packages with a few differences. Both have the largest chunk of money going towards replenishing the Unemployment Trust Fund ($420 million Senate version and $450 House version), $71 million for DHEC, $20 million for MUSC. The House allocated more monies for small- and minority-owned businesses ($50 million) and allocated $25 million for nonprofits. The spending measure will now go to a conference committee where both sides will try to resolve the differences between the two versions.
As I mentioned last week, the Senate moved forward with changes to the continuing resolution, spending portions of the surplus funds from last year. The Senate wanted to give teachers a small pay increase and gave state workers making less than $50,000 a $1,000 bonus if they couldn’t work from home during the pandemic.
The Senate’s plan also included funding for poll workers and school nurses. House leadership decided to take the more conservative approach by not taking up the Senate’s version and remaining under the current continuing resolution. They will hold the entire $861 million until next year in case the economy doesn’t recover as hoped.
We were quite surprised when we woke up Wednesday morning with word that Representatives Chandra Dillard and Bill Herbkersman intended to amend Senate Bill 207 with the affordable housing legislation in H.4675. The legislation gives affordable housing partnerships the same property tax exemptions currently afforded nonprofit affordable housing corporations. The legislation incentivizes private developers and investors to partner with SC Public Housing Authorities. The amendment was added and the bill now goes back to the Senate for their concurrence.
Finally, the Business License Reform bill will be taken up by the Senate next Tuesday when the General Assembly returns. We will keep you posted if your help is needed again.