Official Newsletter of the SC Small Business Chamber of Commerce

Official Newsletter of the SC Small Business Chamber of Commerce

Welcome to the first e-newsletter of The SC Small Business Chamber of Commerce. By allowing us to communicate with you via the Internet, we save our organization money in terms of printing and postage.

Plus, because you have e-mail, we can keep you better informed as to what is happening at the State House in Columbia. You will be receiving ACTION ALERT messages advising you on upcoming votes concerning issues on the Small Business Chamber legislative agenda and giving you specific instructions on how you can help with our grass-roots lobbying.

Legislative Agenda

The legislative session began on January 8th. The first several weeks are traditionally uneventful and this year has been no different. We have a full legislative agenda going into this session (see below). However, as we continue to monitor new legislation being introduced, there may be more bills on which the Small Business Chamber needs to take a position.

Here is our 2002 Legislative Agenda.

STATE ISSUES:

Support Free Technical College Tuition—The Small Business Chamber supports using state lottery proceeds to fund free Technical College tuition for all South Carolinians taking at least 6 credit hours per semester or who are employed full-time (30 hours per week). This is an opportunity for South Carolina to dramatically improve the state’s economy, in both the short and long term, by retraining our existing workforce and preparing non-university bound high-school graduates for well-paying jobs as skilled workers.

Support Reduction of State Income TaxesLegislation to reduce the state income tax for small businesses from 7% to 5%, the rate paid by most big-business C-corporations, is in both the Senate (S.33) and House (H.3454). This issue is simply one of fairness. Government should treat all business the same regardless of their size.

Oppose Mandatory Employee Wage GarnishmentThe Small Business Chamber oppose S.154 and H.4212. These bills would require businesses to garnish the wages of any employee who has an unpaid commercial debt (S. 154) or personal debt (H.4212) . Many employees have side-businesses and sometimes will incur debt they do not pay. Employees also have personal debts they do not pay. S.154 and H.4212 would make the worker’s primary employer responsible for collecting these debts and transferring the money to the creditor business or, in the case of personal debt, the plaintiff. The Small Business Chamber believes that turning every small business into a bill collector would be unfair and a burden to small businesses, cause employee morale and retention problems and create potential liability.

Support Property Rights and Support Fair Conservation EffortsThe Small Business Chamber believes that the property rights of small businesses should be protected and that small businesses should not be unfairly restricted in their development and growth. The Small Business Chamber supports the Private Property Rights Protection Act (S.528). The Small Business Chamber joined an extremely diverse group of organizations, representing conservationists and businesses, to support the SC Conservation Bank (S.297), an entity, supported with existing fees, which would award grants for the purchase (from willing landowners only) of property deemed worthy of conservation.

Support Main Street developmentThe economic health of a town or city is important for the growth and development of small businesses. Therefore, the Small Business Chamber supports H.3163, Historic Rehabilitation Incentives Act. This legislation would provide for tax incentives for rehabilitation of historic buildings thus improving an area’s appearance for future development, immediately helping the local economy with jobs and material purchases and creating desirable office, retail or manufacturing space.

Support Increase in Bad-Check Fee–The cost to small businesses for handling bad checks from customers continues to grow. The Small Business Chamber supports H.3286, which would increase the fee business could collect for bad checks of $100 or less from $25 to $30.

Support Sales Tax Fairness–The Small Business Chamber believes that the state should not be encouraging the public to make purchases via the internet rather than buying from South Carolina brick-and-mortar stores. Therefore, the Small Business Chamber opposes H.4027 which would unfairly exempt sales tax, or “use tax”, on Internet purchases of up to $10,000 per year for personal use.

Oppose Unnecessary DHEC Regulations Harmful to BusinessWhile the Small Business Chamber supports protection of the environment, we oppose unnecessary DHEC regulations which usurp the authority of the General Assembly or dramatically increase DHEC’s authority to regulate wetlands. The Small Business Chamber is opposing specific measures within proposed new hog farm regulations and S.550, Carolina Bay legislation, for these reasons.

Push for Solution to Small Business Health Insurance CrisisAs a result of the small business forums conducted by the Small Business Chamber in 2000, Governor Hodges created a special task force to look at the group health insurance needs of small businesses. The Small Business Chamber has provided input into the preliminary report of this task force and will be working with the Department of Insurance and the legislature to develop in-state and national solutions to this crisis.

Support Small Business One-Stop and OmbudsmanThe Small Business Chamber is working with a task force made up of state agencies and private organizations to create a one-stop internet site (SC BOS) for all regulatory information on any type of business across the state. In addition, the Small Business Chamber supports the creation of a small business ombudsman in state government who would be an advocate for small businesses in the governmental process.

LOCAL ISSUES:

Support Economic Incentives for Small Business—Richland County has been assessing the possible use of economic incentives for the development of a multi-use project along the Congaree River just outside the city limits of Columbia. The fee-in-lieu-of-tax proposal would allow the developer to issue bonds for infrastructure to include enhancing levies along the river. Controversy has surrounded this project because of environmental concerns. The Small Business Chamber has sought ways of using public economic incentives to benefit small businesses instead of just big businesses. The proposed Green Diamond project serves that purpose. While a big business will physically receive the incentive, the success of the entire development will depend on small business involvement during the build-out, maintenance and occupation of this office park, commercial and residential project.

If you have any questions regarding this legislative agenda or would like to suggest other issues, state or local, you would like the Small Business Chamber to consider, call (803) 252-5733, e-mail (smallbusinesschamber@logicsouth.com) or write the address above.

Member Benefits

Please remember that your membership in The SC Small Business Chamber of Commerce entitles you to the following benefits:

Employee Benefits, Payroll, Worker’s Comp.
Get back to running your business, have your SCSBC membership dues paid for you and provide your employees with benefits you couldn’t offer before. Personnel Resources, Inc. is a professional employer organization which can manage your payroll, offer employees more benefits (including health insurance and 401K plans) and reduce your worker’s comp. costs all at a 10% reduced administrative rate for SCSBC members. Plus, Personnel Resources, Inc. will pay your SCSBC dues every year your company uses their services.

Health Care Discount Card
Care Entree believes that if you don’t have health insurance, then you should make health care services 20 to 50% less expensive through their health care provider network. SCSBC members and their employees pay only $35 per month for family coverage, a 12% savings, to belong to this non-health insurance program.

If you would like more information on either of these two benefits, please contact our office.

The Small Business Chamber is continuing to search for other health insurance benefits for our members. We will keep you informed of our progress on this issue.

Help Us Grow

Please tell a business-owner friend about the Small Business Chamber. The more members we have, the more effective our voice will be in government. If you know someone who thinks that small businesses are not getting enough attention and respect from state and local government, they need to belong to the Small Business Chamber. Print this e-newsletter, give it to them and ask them to join.