Headlines from the SC State Capitol:
–A hurried effort by senators to restore nearly 200 candidates to next month’s primary ballots failed Wednesday. Republicans were unable to raise the necessary two-thirds vote that would have suspended the Senate’s rules to take up the measure. Democrats mostly opposed the plan, saying it would likely be struck down by the state Supreme Court and unfairly bailed out candidates who had not followed the law.
–Earlier in the day, a Senate panel voted to advance a House bill that would create tax deductions for families that pay private school tuition. But it was hardly a ringing endorsement, as a majority of those on the panel actually voted against it. However, the subcommittee’s chairman Sen. Wes Hayes (R-Rock Hill) — one of those who voted “no”– said the issue should be decided by the full Senate Finance Committee.
–The Budget & Control Board approved a deal between the University of South Carolina and ETV where the school would purchase two buildings and more than six acres near Williams-Brice Stadium. USC agreed to pay $5.275 million for the property. School officials said they hoped to move several public institute programs into the buildings.
–Senators advanced a bill that would cut small business income taxes. The Senate Finance Committee voted 17-1 to decrease from 5 percent to 3 percent the tax rate charged on business owners who report their profits as personal income. The change would cost the state an estimated $65 million per year. The bill is a surviving part of the House GOP tax reform plan proposed in March.
–The Finance Committee also voted to give state employees a 3 percent raise next year under a budget plan that was approved unanimously. Teachers would also receive a 2 percent pay hike, but not other school employees. The original House plan would have raised both state and all school district employees’ pay by 2 percent. But senators said the state only controls teachers’ pay and increasing other district employees’ salaries would be an “unfunded mandate.”