The South Carolina Tax Realignment Commission (TRAC) meets again Wednesday. Recommendations from the group will be handed over to state lawmakers this year.
At a previous meeting, those who spoke represented an assortment of various business organizations concerned about the sales taxes and the state’s tax structure, or the possibility of losing an existing sales tax exemption.
For instance, Dr. Greg Neimer(NEE-mer) with the South Carolina Rheumatism Society addressed the commission requesting that the state keep its $1.7 million exemption on drugs for rheumatoid arthritis which allows doctors to continue to give the drugs to patients in their offices.
“We purchase the drugs and give them in our office,” he says. “There’s already an exemption in place because we don’t sell the drugs but infuse them to our patients. Historically taxes are not levied against drugs for these problems and all but a few states have this exemption.”
Neimer says allowing the exemption to continue would allow patients to continue to received their treatments, and would reduce time spent on costly hospital stays for treatment and lost work time.
Concerning the overall tax structure, TRAC Chair Bernie Maybank points out that while South Carolina had the 25th worst property tax in the nation five years ago, it is now worst in the nation. It’s now ninth in terms of commercial property tax.
Manufacturing Alliance officials say that doing away with the existing 2.6 billion dollars in tax exemptions in South Carolina in order to fund, say, public education, would only be a short-term fix, until it was reflected by a loss of new manufacturing as well as existing manufacturing.