By South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, Published in Lexington County Chronicle
July 5, 2009
In this legislative session that got very little done to help businesses and our economy, one piece of small business-friendly legislation did get passed. And much of the credit for its success is due to key members of the Lexington County delegation: Sen. Jake Knotts, Reps.Nikki Setzler, Mac Toole and Kenny Bingham.
The S.C. Small Business Chamber of Commerce first identified a problem with our state procurement process back in 2003. We found that roughly 42% of tax dollars were going out-of-state to purchase goods, labor and service for state agencies. We immediately set out to develop legislation to change our procurement code so that more of our state’s dollars would stay in South Carolina.
That process turned out to be more difficult than expected. It wasn’t until a few years later thanks to the efforts of Sen. Nikki Setzler that the S.C. Budget and Control Board began crafting legislation. After many months of work, a bill was ready that had the approval of the state officials responsible for procurement.
In 2007, our procurement reform legislation was co-sponsored in the Senate by Setzler and in the House by Toole, both of Lexington County. In 2008, the General Assembly passed the bill only to have Gov. Mark Sanford successfully veto the legislation.
That same bill was reintroduced this year with Knotts co-sponsoring the Senate bill and Toole, Bingham and Rep. Ted Pitts co-sponsoring the House bill.
The Senate version of the bill passed the Legislature again this year, the Governor again vetoed the bill but this time the veto was overridden. I am very happy to say that not one of the members of the Lexington County legislative delegation voted with the Governor to sustain his veto.
We now will have fair procurement rules in place that will give an incentive to out-of-state companies to pledge large percentages of their bid proposals to be used for subcontracting to our state’s small businesses for goods, labor and services. This will mean more jobs being created in South Carolina and a boost to our economy.
Frank Knapp is the president and CEO of The S.C. Small Business