Governor Nikki Haley is expected to respond to the state budget bill this week. It got to her at the end of an extended session because of a dispute over how to set up a tax break for small businesses.
Laurens Senator Danny Verdin was a part of final negotiations on the budget. He says the struggle over that issue shows that the state needs to take up tax reform early.
“How are we going to address tax policy in South Carolina going forward? Are we going to continue to use the budget process, is that what’s shaping up? Is the Senate only going to debate tax policy here at the end of the year as we try to finalize a budget? I hope that’s not the case, but it’s a trend I see developing and I’m concerned about it,” Verdin says.
The most recent study of comprehensive tax reform– a legislature appointed tax reform commission (TRAC)–went almost ignored.
Verdin says is also needs to happen in stages: “It’s just going to be impossible in the current political climate to address property taxes, sales taxes and income taxes all in one fell swoop, I just don’t see it happening. Therefore, moving slowly and incrementally still can be advantageous for moving toward a better package of taxation in South Carolina.”
“So, I’m not going to wait on the perfect and not take something,” he adds.
The tax break was allowed in a special resolution agreement, ending weeks of dispute over the idea of putting a permanent law change in the budget. He dismisses the idea that tax change for the state needs to be complete and comprehensive.
Study and analysis needs to be comprehensive, he says, but not the execution of tax policy.