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Commentary: SC Legislature's actions will help businesses and citizens

The South Carolina House and Senate recently returned to Columbia amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and their activities supported several Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce legislative priorities.

By passing the continuing resolution, which included emergency funding for COVID-19 response, both bodies took action to ensure that state government stays open and operational when the new fiscal year begins July 1. The General Assembly also passed a resolution setting the parameters for what it will address when lawmakers return later this year to pass a budget as the virus’ financial impact to the state becomes clearer. In addition to this important legislation, the other work they tackled recently delivered huge wins for our region and the business community.

The Charleston Metro Chamber would like to thank our delegation for its bipartisan support for several of the chamber's priorities.

With the reauthorization of the Angel Investor Act tax credits, investors of startup companies may qualify for these credits for an additional six years. Since the inception of the law in 2013, nearly 1,000 jobs have been created, and $175 million in Angel Capital has been raised, for startup companies. Access to capital during these trying times is difficult at best. The reauthorization of the tax credit will benefit many of these startup companies.

As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, the Workforce and Senior Affordable Housing Program will support affordable housing for seniors and lower-waged workers, especially in our region where housing costs are disproportionately high compared to much of South Carolina. This tax credit mirrors legislation at the federal level and allows developers to apply for state credits to meet an essential need in our region.

Finally, the passage of the Military Service Credentialing Act supports spouses of active-duty military members. This legislation streamlines the process and enhances access to obtain professional licenses in South Carolina. The adoption of the bill allows the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation to expedite and reciprocate professional licenses for active-duty military spouses here at Joint Base Charleston and all of our bases in South Carolina. In the Charleston region alone, the military accounts for $10.8 billion annually and supports more than 68,000 jobs. The passage of this act is an important step in ensuring the continued viability of our military mission and making our state the most attractive place in the country for service members.

The Charleston Metro Chamber and the region’s business community thank the South Carolina General Assembly and our state legislative delegation for their efforts in pushing these legislative priorities across the finish line. Despite the challenging times and circumstances while working in the Statehouse, the good work and actions of our Legislature will benefit the businesses and citizens of South Carolina for years to come.

Marc Marchant is the Business Advocacy Committee chairman and chairman-elect for the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce. Bryan Derreberry is the chamber's president and CEO.

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