Post Tagged with: "SC Senate"

SC Senate to Take Up Roads Bill

May 20, 2015 7:30 AM
SC Senate to Take Up Roads Bill

The SC Senate paved the way for a roads bill debate to begin as early as tomorrow when it passed new abortion restrictions yesterday.

The questions for the roads bill now are how much of a tax increase the SC House and SC Senate agree on and will they have the votes necessary to override a Nikki Haley veto?

Look for a fairly stiff increase in the gas tax as well as an increase in fees for licenses, registrations and the like.

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Three Weeks Left for Do-Nothing SC General Assembly

May 19, 2015 7:00 AM
Three Weeks Left for Do-Nothing SC General Assembly

Three weeks remain in this year’s SC General Assembly legislative session.

It would be nice to think SC lawmakers would actually accomplish something useful before the year is done.

But, that is wishing too much from our current crop of do-nothing legislators in Columbia.

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SC General Assembly Compromise Roads Bill

May 13, 2015 7:00 AM
SC General Assembly Compromise Roads Bill

The SC General Assembly turned its attention back to passing a road funding bill this year, but the devil is in the details.

The bill, which began as H. 3579, was set for special order yesterday after a compromise was reached in the SC Senate to move it to priority status for debate.

Much changed since its original version, the bill contains the three elements Gov. Nikki Haley said was needed to avoid a veto – sort of.

The current plan raises the state gas tax by 12 cents per gallon and allows it to be adjusted for inflation in future years. Increases in license and registration fees and raising the sales tax cap on car sales are also included bringing the estimated rise in revenue to approximately $800 million per year.

The bill proposes a decrease of 1% in the state income tax spread over five years. However, the reduction in tax rates would be suspended in any year the projected growth in state revenue is less than 4%.

If the rate is lowered over five years, the estimated tax cut is $700 million.

From 2003-2013, South Carolina’s annual average growth rate was less than 2%, making the possibility of income tax reductions less than certain.

Finally, the bill makes some changes in how the SC Department of Transportation commission is appointed.

While the bill would probably allow for some improvement in funding road maintenance and repairs, it now appears to be more political nonsense than a real effort at fixing the state’s roads.

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The Do-Nothing SC General Assembly

May 3, 2015 8:00 AM
The Do-Nothing SC General Assembly

The SC General Assembly is moving quickly to another do-nothing year with respect to legislation that may actually be positive for the state.

Ethics reform went down in February because the Senate would not allow independent oversight of its members.

Legislation to raise money for road repairs is on the Senate’s contested calendar making it highly unlikely it will be up for a vote in the few weeks remaining in this legislative year.

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Critical Week Upcoming in SC General Assembly

April 25, 2015 5:41 AM
Critical Week Upcoming in SC General Assembly

This is the final week to get bills passed in one chamber of the SC General Assembly for the other chamber to debate them without a two-thirds vote.

In other words, this is the week bills effectively die for this year.

And with the rush to keep legislation alive, I believe road funding will become a dead issue for this year. H 3579 has passed the House, but includes an approximately $400 million tax increase. The Senate is probably amenable to a tax increase for road maintenance.

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SC House Amends Roads Bill

April 21, 2015 6:00 AM
SC House Amends Roads Bill

SC House members amended their road maintenance bill last week to allow county councils the choice of whether to take over maintenance of current state roads.

Instead of County Transportation Committees as first included in the bill (H 3579), it will now be county councils that have the choice whether to accept maintenance responsibility for roads within the county now in the state system.

It would be nice to see County Transportation Committees disbanded with gas tax rebates (C Funds) from the state to the counties directly disbursed to county governments.

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Our Other Left

May 19, 2013 7:00 AM
Our Other Left

Those of you who have had the pleasure of going through basic training in the military can probably remember, as I do, the comic relief invariably provided by ‘our other left’ while learning how to drill.

Inevitably one or two members of a company will forget that you step out on your left foot and will be out of step while a drill instructor is running alongside yelling ‘NO, your other left idiot, your other left’, or something to that effect.

Some people just seem to be born with two left feet.

We are having a similar problem in South Carolina with local and state government. We seem to be suffering from two left wings.

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Senate Advances Ethics Reform

May 9, 2013 6:00 AM
Senate Advances Ethics Reform

A S.C. Senate sub-committee Tuesday made major changes to an ethics reform bill the House had rushed through last week to meet the May 1 crossover deadline for legislation.

The amended bill would make major changes to the way in which ethics violations against members of the General Assembly are investigated as well as requiring new income source disclosure for public officials throughout the state.

The amended legislation takes investigation of allegations of ethics violations against House and Senate members out of the hands of legislative committees and puts a revamped state Ethics commission in charge of all ethics investigations.

The House bill proposed elimination of the House and Senate Ethics committees, replacing them with a Joint Committee on Ethics, a body that would include eight legislators and eight members of the public chosen by legislators.

Ethics investigations of legislators would have effectively remained in the control of legislators with this committee.

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The Case Against Flow Control

May 6, 2013 9:00 PM
The Case Against Flow Control

A bill that would make flow control illegal in South Carolina currently rests in the S.C. Senate Rules Committee awaiting a majority vote to put it on the calendar for full Senate vote.

Flow control is the term that means establishing monopoly control over the flow of the solid waste stream in an area, in this case a county.

It is illegal for private companies to establish flow control over a waste stream, but, currently, not for county government to do so. Horry County currently has a flow control ordinance in place that makes its Horry County Solid Waste Authority the monopoly arbiter over county waste.

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The Independent Socialist Republic of Horry

April 1, 2013 6:00 AM
The Independent Socialist Republic of Horry

For years, Horry County prided itself on being known as the “Independent Republic,” but now that name appears to be changing to the “Independent Socialist Republic of Horry.”

The conversion began in early 2009 when Horry County government established a monopoly on solid waste disposal in the county benefitting the government established Horry County Solid Waste Authority and seriously impacting small, private waste hauling companies and their employees.

That issue is now at the state level as legislators attempt to pass the “Business Freedom to Choose Act”, which would make illegal government monopolies in the marketplace.

The act has successfully passed the S.C. House, but appears to be bogged down in the S.C. Senate.

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