A bill sponsored by Senators Jake Knotts and Glenn McDonnell that was vetoed by the governor has had the veto overridden by the General Assembly. The purpose of the bill is to give in-state vendors preference over out-of-state vendors when competing for the State Government’s business. The South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce supports the bill and, in a release, says they expect this bill help small business owners in the state thus boosting the state’s economy. Small Business Chamber of Commerce co-founder Frank Knapp, Jr. says this is beneficial to small businessmen in the Palmetto State.
“What it does do is it gives small businesses in South Carolina more of an opportunity to be a part of the procurement process of the state of South Carolina then we have today,” said Knapp.
He says the bill aims to create jobs for South Carolinians. “What we’re trying to do with senate bill 116,” says Knapp, “is to encourage out-of-state vendors doing business with the South Carolina state government to sub-contract to in-state small businesses.
“It’s a great idea. We need to give them incentives to do that. We don’t do that now and it help create jobs and help the economy of the state.”
Knapp did not agree with Governor Mark Sanford’s assessment of the bill. “The governor has four points. He doesn’t believe that the government should be picking winners and losers but we’re not picking winners and losers here. We’re simply setting the ground rules that everyone can play by.
“He’s concerned that it mights be unconstitutional but the attorneys for the (SC) Budget and Control Board have said that they feel it is consitutional. Bottom line is that he doesn’t want the government to be injected themselves into the free market,” he said.
Knapp says South Carolina is not the only state to use tax dollars to stimulate local business. He says this a common practice. “In reality, other state’s are doing this. There is no reason we can’t be more effective and efficient using state tax dollars–trying to keep them here in the procurement process–and get the same goods and services we’re going to buy anyway.”