Pickens County Senator Larry Martin says the point of sale tax exemption isn’t dead yet, but it’s definitely on life support. The amendment failed on a final vote 27-13 in the Senate Wednesday afternoon. It needed 31 votes to pass. Senators will try Thursday to reconsider the legislation. If that fails, it goes back to a committee and is likely dead for the year.
The latest compromise was supposedly reached Tuesday between the South Carolina Association of Realtors and a group of county and local government interests. Republicans say the legislation would spur the state’s economy by encouraging the sale of commercial property.
Local governments stand to lose millions under the measure. Association of Counties attorney Robert Croom said after the failed vote Wednesday that he was not sure what happened, but that his organization had definitely “checked off” on the compromise.
Pickens County Republican Larry Martin said that the two-thirds majority vote was just too much of a hurdle.
(Martin on point of sale MP3 2:47)
Martin on point of sale MP3 2:47
According to the compromise, the taxable value of second homes and businesses, taxed at six percent, would reduce in 2011 and following years by 20 percent from the purchase price. The legislation would eliminate additional taxes at the point of sale on second homes, businesses and commercial real estate for any sales this year. The compromise amendment was created to correct a problem that realtors say exists in Act 388, passed several years ago, which stipulated that properties would be reassessed when they were sold. That put higher taxes on buyers of second homes and businesses.
Martin says until the tax law is changed, the state is missing out on a certain amount of economic growth, that state and local governments won’t see the difference until the tax is changed. He says he and other supporters tried to make the compromise legislation more flight worthy, but it didn’t get off the ground. Martin says if the legislation ends up grounded in committee this year due to the time frame, he has hopes that it will see the light of day next year.