Archive for June, 2009
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The first year of the two-year session of the 118th S.C. General Assembly ended this week, with lawmakers not scheduled to return until January. Of the 65 bills on his desk, Gov. Mark Sanford vetoed 10, signed 42 and allowed 13 to become law without his signature. Highlights of the final week include legislative action and activities on the state budget, state tax structure and payday lending as well as an update on Interstate 73.
State Budget (Fiscal Year 2009-2010)
On June 16, the General Assembly overrode nine of the 10 vetoes. Under General Assembly rules, it takes two-thirds of the House and Senate to override a governor’s veto.
As a result, the state has adopted the $5.7 million spending plan. The budget includes $350 million in federal money over each of the next two budget years, beginning July 1, to help South Carolina’s schools. The state Supreme Court forced Sanford to accept the money despite his objections that the state should use it to pay off debt.
State revenues are down 12.8 percent, or $756 million, overall for the year according to Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom.
A May 21 resolution, presented by S.C. Department of Transportation Commissioner Danny Isaac and approved by the commission, redirects available funds to purchase right-of-way and advance the permitting process for construction of the I-73/I-95 interchange in Dillon County, including six miles of highway connecting U.S. 501 in the county.
A sum of $64 million is available for this effort, in addition to the $10 million redirected from the State Infrastructure Bank, according to an agreement between the State Infrastructure Bank and Horry County.
While the commission’s decision does not add new money to the project, it offers the potential for starting construction earlier than expected if additional funds become available. Currently, two opportunities exist to secure additional funds: a recently announced grant of $1.5 billion from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the upcoming Highway Reauthorization Bill.
State Tax Structure
Although Sanford is expected to veto the bill, the House and Senate approved a measure to create an 11-member panel to study state taxes and recommend changes. Lawmakers would appoint eight members and Sanford two, with the final slot filled by the Department of Revenue. The bill also would study a state version of the Fair Tax, which would raise the state sales tax but eliminate income taxes.
As part of its mission, the panel will not be studying a 2006 statewide property tax reform law for homeowners. Some say the law has shifted the tax burden to businesses and made some companies less willing to invest in the state. In addition, the law means there will be about $100 million less in the state budget for the upcoming fiscal year because sales tax revenues have failed to fully fund the homeowner property tax credits.
The payday lending bill, endorsed by the House and Senate, limits borrowers to one loan at a time and creates a statewide “real-time” database to track loans, the first new regulations to be put on the $155 million-a-year industry since its 1998 startup.
The bill also introduced other consumer protections, including the borrower’s right to void a loan within 24 hours and a loan limit of $550, up from $300.
Sources: Information has been compiled from reports in The State (Columbia) and Associated Press.
Myrtle Beach and Horry County, S.C., are attractive destinations for sports teams and their families and friends. A recent study reviewed the number and condition of the sports facilities in terms of their suitability as sites for competitions that can produce visitor spending and beneficial economic impact for your area. Discover the findings of sport facilities and sport tourism in Horry County.