(Columbia, SC) – As the General Assembly reconvened this week to finish its legislative work for the year, House Speaker Bobby Harrell issued the following statements on some of the major bills still being worked on in Conference Committee:
FY2012-2013 State Budget:
“With House and Senate budget conferees reaching a compromise on most of the major issues, it is clear that the sticking point holding up the budget has come down to one issue – tax relief. The House wants to utilize some of the new money in this year’s budget for new tax relief for South Carolina employers – $60 million to cut small business income taxes from 5 to 3% and $77 million in SUTA tax relief that will benefit all South Carolina businesses.
“Already we have agreed to address some very important issues – agreeing to fund core government services, fully funding the deepening of our Port’s Harbor, directing more money to the classroom, providing teachers and law enforcement officers pay raises all while coming in well below proposed spending caps. With South Carolina’s unemployment rate climbing back over 9%, it is not too much to ask that we devote some of this new revenue to tax relief so that our state’s businesses can hire more employees.”
Department of Administration (DOA):
“Since 2008, the House has passed a DOA reform bill 4-times. Passing the Senate for the first time this year, we are now on the cusp of delivering the most comprehensive government restructuring our state has ever seen. The House’s plan totally eliminates the Budget & Control Board, protects our state’s AAA Credit Rating, moves 90% of the old Board into a Department of Administration directly under the Governor and reduces the overall size of government.
“We are staring at the finish line to what good, accountable government can look like. After fighting for this reform for over 5 years in the House, it is our hope that this major government restructuring reform becomes law this year.”
“Saving our state retirement system by making the fund solvent is one of the biggest issues we have before us this year.
“The creation of a Public Employee Benefit Authority (PEBA) has become a major sticking point in the conference committee’s negotiations. PEBA – one of the 10 government agencies created by the Senate in their DOA plan – will give vested state retirees major influence on retirement funding decisions. The creation of this PEBA board threatens our state’s AAA Credit Rating and would subject the entire bill to being thrown out by the South Carolina Supreme Court.
“Our goal is to save our state retirement system. We should not let this one issue, which does nothing to make our fund solvent again, jeopardize the reforms that will fix our state’s retirement system.”
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