2019 Competitiveness Agenda

Our Competitiveness Agenda outlines our most pressing policy priorities for this year's legislative session. For 2019, we’re focused on comprehensive tax reform and workforce development. Year in and year out, our goal is to fight for policies that make South Carolina the best place in the nation to live, work, and do business.

Comprehensive Tax Reform

South Carolina's business tax climate is ranked 35th least competitive in the nation. Taxpayers need a modernized, simplified, and more competitive system. 

1. Simplify and lower the 7% personal income tax rate. 

SC's top marginal rate is the highest in the Southeast and kicks in at $14,860. In many cases the effective rate is also the highest in the Southeast. 

2. Update and modernize the sales tax base to lower other taxes. 

SC and VA have the narrowest sales tax bases in the Southeast.

3. Make property taxes on commercial, non-owner occupied, and manufacturing property more equitable while addressing education funding disparities. 

Rural commercial properties face an average effective rate of 2.8% in SC, compared to 1.8% nationally; urban manufacturing properties in SC face the 5th highest effective rate in the nation.

4. Reform the business license tax structure to eliminate double taxation & create a single payment processor to reduce burdensome compliance costs. 

This tax is one of the most complex, costly, and burdensome taxes for small businesses in SC.

Workforce Development

South Carolina's business needs a quality and effective workforce system to sustain and enhance business growth and improve the quality of life for South Carolinians. 

1. Support efforts to effectively address the teacher recruitment and retention crisis in SC.

In recent years, the number of students interested in teaching has dramatically declined and the number of teachers staying in the profession is trending downwards.  Without an adequate supply of teachers, our future workforce will be at a disadvantage – fewer teachers and high turnover can lead to larger class sizes, fewer classes, less quality instruction and ultimately, lower student achievement.

2. Facilitate workforce development by making housing in high growth areas more attainable.

South Carolina is a fast-growing state with an expanding economy, but rapid economic growth in some areas of the state has resulted in a lack of attainable housing for many of the state’s working citizens. Without a solution to make affordable workforce housing more available in high growth areas, we will continue to have challenges filling the workforce pipeline and attracting and retaining talent.

3. Expand career-awareness and training initiatives to fill high demand jobs.

Many South Carolinians view traditional trade occupations as low-skilled and/or low-paying careers.  In fact, these positions pay family-sustaining wages and often require only a post-secondary credential to enter the field, allowing a citizen to accrue less debt and enter the workforce sooner.  The lack of awareness of available opportunities impacts the state’s ability to produce a skilled workforce, hindering both job creators and families.

4. Make it easier for qualified professionals to be credentialed and certified in SC as healthcare  providers, educators, and other professions. 

Many of South Carolina’s key professions, including teachers and nurses, are approaching critical workforce shortages within the next few years. We need innovative and expedient solutions, including license reciprocity for licensees from other states, to help fill the gaps.