South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce 2020 issues

South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce 2020 issues

The Advocate of South Carolina Small Business

1717 Gervais Street • Columbia • SC • 29201 • (803) 252-5733



Health Insurance Opportunities (state)
Open enrollment for the ACA Marketplace is now available until December 15.  We are encouraging small businesses that do not offer group health insurance to help their employees enroll (91% of South Carolinians in the ACA Marketplace qualify for premium assistance).  We are also helping small business owners explore their options for their own health insurance because premiums have gone up dramatically for those not eligible for premium assistance.

Medicaid Expansion (state)
To date, 36 states and Washington, DC, have adopted the Medicaid expansion and 14 states have not adopted the expansion. South Carolina has 124,000 uninsured citizens that are under 100% of the federal poverty level but who do not qualify for our state’s Medicaid program.  These uninsured would be eligible for Medicaid if the state adopted the expansion.  We support expanding Medicaid both because most of these uninsured work for small businesses and because the uncompensated care for these uninsured results in higher premiums for the insured.

National Health Insurance Reform Proposals (national)
The big debate in the Democratic presidential primary is over reforming healthcare.  Medicare For All versus building on Obamacare primarily with a public option are the two main proposals.  While we do not endorse candidates, we can educate our members on this issue.  Our July very non-scientific poll on members found overwhelming support for building on Obamacare with a public option.

Revisit 2017 Federal Tax Cut & Jobs Act (TCJA) (national)
I co-chair Businesses for Responsible Tax Reform (BRTR), a national coalition of small businesses that was formed in 2017 to oppose the federal tax cut as proposed. BRTR has worked to educate small business owners as to how they were not treated fairly. BRTR polling confirms that the vast majority of small business owners were not helped or were actually harmed by the TCJA. BRTR is advocating for rolling back much of the 40% corporate tax rate cut that has exploded the federal deficit and use some of that recovered tax for programs such as the PROGRESS Act mentioned below.

Small Business Jobs Crisis (state & national)
In October small businesses nationwide shed 12,000 jobs.  In 4 of the last 6 months small businesses have shed jobs.  The U.S. is also at a nearly 40-year low in small business startups.  Since almost all net new jobs come from small businesses less than 5 years old and with 4 or fewer employees, the nation’s economic future is threatened.  In October two bills introduced in Congress address the problem.  Senator Tim Scott has introduced the Enhancing Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century Act calling for a comprehensive study to determine the causes of the new startups problem.  We are supporting this Act in the Senate and in the House.  Senator Ron Wyden has introduced the PROGRESS Act that would create a First Employee Tax Credit (we are given credit for suggesting this measure to Senate Finance Committee staff) and an Investment Tax Credit to encourage small business job growth.

Offshore Exploration and Drilling for Oil (state & national)
While there is nothing new in the lawsuit against the federal agency that gave the greenlight to seismic testing, our campaign that started in July to have all Democratic presidential candidates declare that they would issue an executive order on their first day to ban all new oil drilling leases on public lands and waters has been very successful.  Today we have these top candidates—Biden, Warren, Sanders, Buttigieg, Harris and Booker—committed to this First Day action plan.  Still working on other candidates.

Protecting Elections (national)
Our “Business 4 Protecting the Election” campaign (formerly “Protect Democracy USA”) calls on Congress and the President to pass legislation to protect our elections from foreign interference.  The U.S. House passed the SHIELD Act that has 5 components for securing our elections.  1. Creates a duty to report illicit offers of campaign assistance from foreign governments and their agents.  2. Helps prevent foreign interference in future elections by improving transparency of online political advertisements. 3. Closes loopholes that allow foreign nationals and foreign governments to spend in U.S. elections. 4. Restricts exchange of campaign information between candidates and foreign governments and their agents. 5 Prohibits deceptive practices about voting procedures.  This Act is not presently moving in the Senate due to obstruction from Senator Mitch McConnell.

Ending Anonymous Shell Corporations (national)
Since 2013 we have advocated for federal legislation to stop those involved in illegal activity from using anonymous shell corporations by requiring the beneficial owners to be disclosed when incorporating.  The U.S. House recently passed the Corporate Transparency Act of 2019 (voting “yes” was Cunningham, Wilson and Clyburn).  The Senate will have the bipartisan Illicit Cash Act and we are asking Senator Scott to co-sponsor.

Santee Cooper (state)
Proposals to buy or manage Santee Cooper have been submitted to the SC Department of Administration.  Santee Cooper has submitted a proposal of what changes they will make in order to be allowed to remain a state agency. The Dept. of Administration will make recommendations to the Legislature in January.  We continue to advocate for selling Santee Cooper to a private utility in order to eliminate the $4 billion in nuclear debt from ratepayer responsibility.

Palmetto Work and Save Plan (state)
This AARP-SC sponsored program would create a self-sustaining, completely voluntary retirement savings plan for small business owners that don’t currently offer a retirement plan.  It would operate much like a 529 college savings plan, but for retirement.  This public-private partnership would be run by financial service providers from the private sector.  We have been involved in the development of this proposed program.

Senator Schumer’s Clean Cars for America Proposal (national)
U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer is proposing an ambitious plan to replace 63 million carbon-emitting cars on U.S. roads with “clean”, zero-emission vehicles by 2040.  We have made the following proposal to his office:

Allocate a small percentage of the $392 billion “making clean vehicles affordable” budget specifically for small businesses (sole-proprietors, LLCs, S-corps) purchasing American made Class 1 light,  ½ ton, pickup trucks (ex. F-150, Ram 1500, Silverado 1500) to replace older gas-powered pickup trucks.


These light pickup trucks are used by all types of small businesses (ex. construction, heating & air, plumbing, landscaping, cleaning, etc.) and represent about one out of every 8 vehicles sales in America and virtually all are gas-powered.  Approximately 30% of all light pickup truck purchases each year are by businesses of all sizes.

While the more heavy-duty pickups (Class 2 and 3) have lower gas mileage and thus would be a higher priority to be replaced, EV pickups in these classes are not slated for near term production.

To qualify for an EV light pickup truck tax credit:

  1. The small business must be a sole-proprietorship, LLC or S-corp,
  2. The small business must have 5 or fewer light pickup trucks in their existing fleet (this number can be reduced to focus on even smaller businesses),
  3. The light pickup truck being replaced must be over three years old,
  4. The EV light pickup truck purchased under this program must be U.S.-assembled.


Dominion Energy Rate Hike (state)
Dominion Energy will be filing for a rate hike in 2020.  I will personally intervene.