Headlines from around the South Carolina State Capitol: (Schedule of Tuesday’s meetings)
–Governor Nikki Haley challenged the House to pass $140 million in tax relief that was included in her executive budget proposal. Haley is holding a series of events across the state in an effort to rally public support. However, House Republicans are accusing the Governor of playing politics, arguing they have already set aside hundreds of millions of dollars in unemployment and property tax relief.
–House leaders finally released details about their much-promoted tax reform proposal crafted by the House Republican Caucus. The proposals include phasing out the state corporate income tax, collapsing six personal income tax brackets into three, and eliminating $260 million worth of sales tax exemptions. The proposal is packaged into seven separate bills to be introduced Tuesday.
–The House approved most of its General Fund budget with relative ease Tuesday. While some debate remains on state employees’ pay, local government aid, and education funding, very few of those disagreements surfaced on Monday. The House will focus on budget provisos on Tuesday.
–The Senate will officially swear in Glenn McConnell as the new Lt. Governor Tuesday. McConnell gave up his Senate seat Friday so he could move into the new office as the state Constitution requires. McConnell made it well known that he was not happy about the move, but felt duty-bound to replace the disgraced Ken Ard.
–Senators will also vote on the powerful Senate President pro tempore position, which McConnell held for over a decade. While nothing is official, some possible names being batted around this week include Education Committee Chairman John Courson (R-Columbia), Transportation Committee Chairman Larry Grooms (R-Berkeley), and Majority Leader Harvey Peeler (R-Gaffney).
–As campaign 2012 continues, Rep. Kevin Johnson (D-Manning) — the former Manning mayor who was first elected to the House last year– has announced he plans to seek the seat of retiring state Sen. John Land (D-Manning). Land reportedly wanted Johnson as his successor, according to the Sumter Item.