South Carolina lawmakers have sent Gov. Nikki Haley a bill that would give military homeowners a tax break on homes they have not been able to sell after getting military orders to move.
The Sumter Item first reported Thursday that the bill was given unanimous approval by the General Assembly on Wednesday.
South Carolina law allows primary residences to be taxed at a four percent assessment ratio, but secondary homes go up to six percent.
The legislation proposed by State Rep. Murrell Smith, R-Sumter, allows military homeowners to keep their property in the four percent owner-occupied tax group, instead of the higher rate that applies if they rent it out.
“Not only were they unable to sell their home as they were leaving and had to service their mortgage, they also had an increase in their taxes,” Smith told South Carolina Radio Network. ”That problem continued to grow as this housing crisis prolonged.”
Under the bill, homeowners may keep the lower rate as long they remain on active duty and put the home on the market within 30 days of purchasing a second home.
Budget analysts predicted the bill would cost local governments a little over $357,000 in property tax revenue.
Smith told The Item that the bill is a way to show support for the military.