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Senate panel swaps road bills, tables tax cut

Author: Tim Smith

Source: Greenville Online

April 29, 2015

COLUMBIA – The Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday replaced a House roads-funding plan with a Senate funding plan and defeated a proposal to include Gov. Nikki Haley's tax cut.

The two plans are vastly different and Haley has threatened to veto both. Haley, who has proposed a reduction from 7 percent to 5 percent over 10 years of the top income tax rate, has said she wants any roads plan to include a significant tax cut.

The committee voted 14-8 for the amended roads bill. However, Sen. Kevin Bryant, an Anderson Republican, said he would place a minority report on the legislation, meaning it would take a two-thirds vote of the Senate to bring it up for debate.

Senators last week said there were already speed bumps in the way of any roads plan in the Senate with weeks to go before adjournment.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Hugh Leatherman predicted the bill would generate days of debate. The Senate is scheduled to take up the budget next week and even if the Senate votes to approve the roads bill for debate priority, it still must wait for debate to end on two other controversial bills, including one concerning abortion.

Sen. Tom Davis, a Beaufort Republican, pushed the tax cut amendment, saying Haley had made the tax cut a priority and had won re-election last November by more than 15 points "and speaks for the entirety of South Carolina."

"It just seems to me, in a Republican-controlled Senate and a Republican-controlled Senate Finance Committee, to not take up something that the governor has highlighted in the State of the State, sort of flies in the face of what the voters said in the last general election," he said.


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