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SC Chamber of Commerce Unveils 2021 Competitiveness Agenda

January 11, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 11, 2021 

Katie Titus, Director of Government Affairs/Media Relations Manager  

South Carolina Chamber of Commerce 

(916) 996-2015 


SC Chamber of Commerce Unveils 2021 Competitiveness Agenda  

“Revitalizing the Economy” and “Expanding Opportunities for All South Carolinians” Are Highlighted Priorities 


COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce (SC Chamber) announced the release of its 2021 Competitiveness Agenda today in advance of the 2021 legislative session starting tomorrow. The Competitiveness Agenda, developed annually, consists of initiatives impacting job creators and businesses from industry sectors and regions across the state. Competitiveness Agenda items will help South Carolina create a more competitive environment for jobs and businesses, especially as the economy continues to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.  


As the champion for business in the state, this year the SC Chamber is calling for policymakers to revitalize the economy by bringing jobs back and keeping tax burdens low. The Chamber is also calling for policymakers to expand opportunities for all South Carolinians by passing a hate crimes law, expanding rural broadband, and improving educational and economic opportunities. The SC Chamber Board approved the 2020 Competitiveness Agenda after receiving extensive input from the business community, included talking to and surveying its members, and from its annual Grassroots Tour with over 20 virtual stops this year to hear from local chamber membership from all regions of the state. 


SC Chamber of Commerce Interim CEO Swati Patel said, “We know the impact of the pandemic on businesses and families has been heavy, but the business community is optimistic about opportunities ahead for the 2021 legislative session. South Carolina was on strong economic footing when the pandemic hit, and we have made progress toward recovering, but there is work ahead of us. The businesses that make our communities strong deserve protection from frivolous lawsuits. They should know we have their back and remain committed to keeping them open. The last year reminded each of us in the business community that diversity, equity and inclusion make us stronger and more productive. Hate has no place in South Carolina, and it is time to pass a hate crimes law. We look forward to working closely with the Governor, House and Senate to ensure that these and other business priorities are passed this session.” 


“There is no question the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged businesses in ways never seen before,” said Tim Arnold, Chairman of the SC Chamber and President and CEO of Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company. “I’m confident that by pursuing the priorities outlined in the Chamber’s Competitiveness Agenda including COVID-19 liability protections, property tax reform, teacher recruitment and retention, rural broadband, and passage of a hate crimes bill, we’ll be able to support existing South Carolina businesses and recruit the best businesses moving forward. The business community stands ready to roll up its sleeves to work with the General Assembly to make these goals a reality this session.” 

2020 Competitiveness Agenda 

Revitalizing the Economy 

  • Bring Jobs Back 
    • Pass COVID-19 limited liability protection for good actors. 
    • Support workforce development and reskilling initiatives. 
    • Pass legislation to improve 37th work lawsuit climate ranking. 
  • Keep Tax Burdens Low 
    • Reform property taxes to fix our system of extremes. 
    • Reauthorize the rehabilitation tax credit. 
    • Reform the corporate license fee. 
    • Continue to support efforts to fund the UI Trust Fund. 
  • Adapt to New Way of Doing Business 
    • Improve remote working opportunities and business transactions. 

Expanding Opportunities for All South Carolinians 

  • Support Criminal Justice Reform 
    • Pass hate crimes legislation. 
    • Prioritize second-chance hiring. 
  • Improve Educational and Economic Opportunities 
    • Improve teacher recruitment. 
    • Improve housing attainability. 
  • Expand Rural Broadband 
    • Support creating state coordinating body, developing state broadband plan, reducing permitting red tape, and creating broadband ready certifications.  

Read more: https://www.scchamber.net/our-agenda 


“As COVID-19 continues to run its course through our community, liability protection for businesses acting in good faith is an essential component to maintaining a strong economy. South Carolina businesses did not cause COVID-19, and South Carolina businesses are not responsible for its continued propagation. The South Carolina Chamber will continue to work with our state legislators to find workable and fair liability protection for those businesses that are trying to stay open and keep our citizens employed, while adapting to ever changing government standards and guidance.” – Mike Shetterly, Shareholder, Ogletree Deakins – Greenville Office 

“Now, more than ever, we have to put a premium on making sure our children have access to the highest quality educational opportunities available, because few things are more important to our long term economic development success. That’s why we are fighting for expanded rural broadband access, cutting edge workforce training, and support for educators. I look forward to working with legislators and the Governor to keep our state moving forward, as we remain focused on these policy priorities, as well as meeting the state’s public health needs.” – Lou Kennedy, CEO, Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation and former Chairman of the SC Chamber 

“Blackbaud is proud to support initiatives that celebrate inclusion and diversity. As a member of the South Carolina business and tech communities, we believe it’s important for us to be a leader in calling for this critical change to pass a hate crimes law in South Carolina. We’re pleased to join with the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce and more than 80 other businesses in supporting this important legislation.” – Catherine LaCour, Chief Marketing Officer, Blackbaud, Inc. 

“We’re often told to never judge a book by its cover, but hates crimes do just that. When a person is reduced to only their race, religion, debility, sexual orientation or gender identity the world may miss out on their talent and ability. We need to hold accountable everyone that uses violence out of bias, fear or ignorance. At a time in history where the social fabric of our community is severely distressed and our beloved State has very personal ties to this matter, it is with applauded urgency that the SC Chamber is driving action with legislature to pass a bill condemning crimes sparked by hate.” – DeeDee Henderson, Executive Vice President of Clinical Operations, Agape Care South Carolina 

About the SC Chamber: The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce is the State’s Champion for Business, with a vision to make South Carolina the best place in the nation to live, work, and do business. A statewide organization that promotes pro-job and business policies at the state and federal level, it brings together businesses across the state with coordinated strategies, trainings, committees, and events. With a unified voice, we can make the biggest impact. Our member insights shape the policies we write, and the agenda we promote at the State House. You can learn more at www.scchamber.net 



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