As we approach the end of the 2018 legislative session much of the last few weeks will be about the budget, but several other issues, including electric utilities, will be taken up. In addition, a number of HBASC legislative priorities remain in discussion at the state house.


South Carolina Building Codes: S.579


The HBASC worked with a number of groups to create the South Carolina Building Codes. This state-specific code would allow for a more efficient and effective code adoption process. The new code would be tailored to the safety and affordability of homeowners in South Carolina. The S.C. Building Codes bill would also join a national movement to a six year code adoption cycle from the current three year cycle. The bill will allow for modifications throughout the cycle that contain a positive cost and safety benefit to the homeowner. These moves should save homeowners thousands of dollars from unnecessary and frequent changes and allow for improved efficiency for code officials and inspectors. We will continue to work with the members of Senate LCI to move this bill to the Senate floor for consideration. Thanks to Senators Alexander and Leatherman for their leadership toward the creation of the S.C. Building Codes.


CO-SPONOSORS Senators Campbell, Climer, Corbin, Cromer, Hembree, Timmons


Business License Fee Reform: H.3650


The HBASC has worked for years to improve the business license environment in South Carolina. Our members have expressed significant concerns with the current system. Chairman Bill Sandifer of the House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee introduced H. 3650 that changes the current business license tax system that provides more than $300 million annually to county and local municipalities. As the bill is currently written, the business license tax will be computed based on adjusted gross income, directs the Secretary of State to operate an online portal and will be in charge of standardizing business license tax forms, and ensures certificate of occupancies cannot be withheld because a subcontractor has not paid a business license tax. The HBASC is appreciative of the Chairman’s efforts to reform, update, and standardize the current business license tax system. We will continue working with him and the members of the LCI Committee to bring this bill to the House floor for consideration.


CO-SPONOSORS House: Reps. Anderson, Atwater, Bedingfield, Erickson, Forrester, Hamilton, Jordan, McEachern, Ryhal, Simrill, Tallon, Taylor, White


Inclusionary Zoning: H. 4162 / S. 346


Local zoning ordinances, environmental requirements, and impact fees on new housing development have reduced the availability of developable land and driven up the costs of housing. Inclusionary zoning is an idea that shifts the burden of housing affordability of an area from the public sector to the private sector. Inclusionary zoning is a tax on housing. The service sector middle class that gets squeezed out under inclusionary zoning are no longer able to afford the market-priced units--whose price has now increased to cover the subsidized inclusionary zoning units--but they are not eligible for the subsidized ones. Thus, inclusionary zoning simply shifts the problem without solving it. The HBASC is opposed to these bills because of the increased cost inclusionary zoning measures would have on homebuilding and how those costs would price out thousands of S.C. families from homeownership.


Homeowner Association Bill: H.3886


The HBASC continues to work toward a bill that will protect private property and homeowners’ rights, and produce a bill that would provide a clear and defined set of rules and a consistent process that HOAs must follow for the benefit of the community and the homeowners. The HBASC is heartened by and would like to thank Sen. Davis for his work on this issue.


Roll-Back Taxes: H. 3786


Currently land classified for agriculture use receives special tax breaks but when this land is converted to residential or commercial usage the new owner is forced to pay roll-back taxes. The newly acquired or reclassified property is then taxed based upon the full value previously determined by the county, and five years of “roll-back” taxes are due. This legislation would limit the roll-back tax penalty to one year instead of the last five years when converting agriculture property to residential or commercial use. Many land owners have expressed a desire to reclassify and develop their property for residential or commercial usage but have been concerned with a large tax bill when the property is reclassified. Please thank Rep. Long for his steadfast support and efforts to reform and provide relief from this tax penalty that hurts landowners.


Electric Utilities:


There are a number of bills being debated by both chambers at the State House that would deal with the future of the electric utilities industry in South Carolina. The HBASC supports stable utilities to ensure a strong energy future for the residents of South Carolina.