Featured Image Source: Andrew Whitaker, Post & Courier
South Carolina’s regular legislative session came to an end early last month, but lawmakers returned to the statehouse a few weeks later for a three-day special session.
Having finished their special session a day early, lawmakers met on May 21 and May 22 to discuss legislation and finalize the budget. And, of the legislation being reviewed, two major bills were up for debate, including Santee Cooper and the Carolina Panthers.
The Largest Budget In State History Was Passed
Both the House and Senate passed the largest budget in state history with a total spending package of $29.8 billion with a 105-6 and 32-8 vote, respectively. Revisions to the budget include the removal of provisos that would have added tolls along I-95 and a reduction of the “Be Pro Be Proud” program, which is a program that started in Arkansas and tours the state to give students exposure to industries. Originally $950,000 of the budget was allocated to the program before being reduced to $642,500.
Lawmakers Agreed To Explore The Sale of Santee Cooper
Lawmakers adopted a final version of the resolution which will allow the Department of Administration to oversee the process of collecting and reviewing bids for state-owned Santee Cooper. The Department will hire experts to assist it in analyzing and recommending three proposals to be passed along to lawmakers. The three proposals will consist of one purchase offer from a third-party, one management offer and a final reform proposal from Santee Cooper. While this resolution was passed, the future of Santee Cooper is still undecided and will likely be decided during the next legislative session, continuing to leave Santee Cooper direct serve and coop customers without any relief from the VC Summer debt while SCANA customers have already received some rate relief from the debt.
Carolina Panthers Receive Major Tax Breaks
According to the newly adopted Carolina Panthers resolution, the Panthers don’t have to pay state income taxes for players, coaches, or other employees for the next 15 years as long as they build their new complex near Rock Hill. Governor McMaster is hoping the Panthers’ move to South Carolina will create jobs for many South Carolinians.
South Carolina’s next regular legislative session will start back up in January 2020.