COLUMBIA — South Carolina lawmakers are pushing a bill to exempt federal workers in South Carolina from being penalized for not paying their property taxes on time as the federal government's record-setting shutdown heads toward its fourth week.
The S.C. House quickly advanced the legislation to the floor Wednesday in order to protect federal employees who are out of work while President Donald Trump and Congress fight over a proposed $5 billion for wall funding on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Charleston County Treasurer Mary Tinkler asked the state's lawmakers to do so. Otherwise, she would be unable to offer the furloughed employees an exemption, she said.
"As Charleston County treasurer, I recognize the struggle that many local federal employees are facing due to the government shutdown and I have reached out to former colleagues in the House of Representatives to help seek relief for those who have been furloughed," Tinkler said.
The legislation is being sponsored by many in Charleston County's legislative delegation, including Democrat Leon Stavrinakis and Republicans Peter McCoy and Nancy Mace.
"These families are suffering without an income because of the federal shutdown. So we fought hard today to expedite this legislation and ultimately were able to get it onto a fast track for a floor vote," Stavrinakis said.
The legislation could be vital to federal workers as the shutdown has already made the employees miss one paycheck so far this year.
The lawmakers hope to move quickly on the newly-sponsored legislation. They received unanimous support in the House on Wednesday in order to bypass the legislative committee process.
The bill will be needed quickly since the property tax deadline for Dorchester, Berkeley and Charleston counties already passed on Jan. 15.