As a state Senate committee discussed bringing the state’s tax code in conformity with the federal one they heard from the state chamber of commerce that the business climate in South Carolina is healthy.
South Carolina Chamber of Commerce CEO Ted Pitts told senators last week that the state is able to attract industry largely due to its tax code. He worried that could change if lawmakers do not act.
Pitts says having a world-class port in Charleston helps. “I think overall businesses in South Carolina would say that the climate is good,” he said. ‘We continue to be a net exporter.”
The former legislator urged senators to conform the state’s tax code, otherwise businesses would have to pay more than they did last year. “So overall from a tax structure there are some things we need to work on from a tax reform perspective,” he told the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Conformity.
However, some on the panel — particularly State Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Kershaw, noted businesses would still come out ahead due to larger tax cuts at the federal level this year which would save them money.
“We know that, no matter what we do, some people and businesses are going to be paying more (in state taxes) and other people and businesses are going to be paying less as we do conformity,” Sheheen said during last week’s meeting. “And I would rather have that weighted towards individuals and families as I look at each group within the whole.”
The chamber CEO answered that he only wants a minor tweak to preserve the prior status quo for businesses “There are some things that need to be done but… a conformity bill is not the place to address those inequities,” he said.
Pitts said South Carolina continues to attract investments. “We’re a leader in foreign direct investment. So, companies from around the world know that South Carolina is a good place to do business. We have a world-class port.”