|This Week’s business information compiled by your Greater Sumter Chamber Team|
Tax Relief Measures Passed; Major Broadband Legislation Passed; and Business License Tax Reform Bill Passed
|1. Tax Relief Measures Passed|
Last week, the legislature passed the Phase II CARES Act allocations which included $420 million for the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Trust Fund. This is in addition to the $500 million allocated for the trust fund in the Phase I allocation. The legislation also includes language that would give priority to the trust fund in any reallocation of unused funds and set the total effective UI tax rates for 2021 rate classes at the same total effective rates as 2020 rate classes – meaning that regardless of the trust fund balance, for 2021, businesses will not have to pay tax rates above what they are paying this year.
Mitigating the impacts on businesses from UI Trust Fund insolvency was one of the top items on the Chamber’s Relief and Recovery Agenda for SC Businesses. We thank the General Assembly for lowering tax burdens on businesses by funding the UI Trust Fund to keep rates as low as possible moving into next year.
Other CARES Act Phase II allocations include:
DHEC Testing and Monitoring: $73MMUSC Testing: $20.2MNonprofit Relief Program: $25MMinority and Small Business Relief Program: $40MState, Local Government, Independent College and University Expenditures: $115M
The General Assembly also passed a conformity amendment that clarifies that forgiven Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans are excluded from gross income for state tax purposes. It also allows for the deduction of certain expenses associated with the forgiven PPP loans. Another important issue was for the legislature to “proactively mirror the federal rules that exempt COVID-19-related funds, like…Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, from any type of state taxation.” We appreciate the General Assembly for getting it done.
2. Major Broadband Legislation Passed
Last week, the Senate introduced and passed a sweeping amendment to H.3780, which expressly allows the electric cooperatives to get in the business of broadband and allows current providers more access to existing infrastructure. The House concurred with that amendment today, passing the bill.
Increasing statewide broadband access and adoption was a key item on our Relief and Recovery Agenda. The bill, now known as the Broadband Accessibility Act, is a great step in helping fill broadband gaps throughout the state and will expand access in rural areas. We appreciate the General Assembly and the providers throughout our state who worked hard over the last several weeks to reach a compromise and pass H.3780. We will continue to work with our partners and the legislature to build on this progress moving into the next legislative session.
The General Assembly also passed H.4262, the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act, a bill that will help expand 5G access throughout the state. This increased capacity will help close the connectivity gap and is a win for SC.
3. Business License Tax Reform Bill Passed
After years of negotiations and compromises, H.4431, the SC Business License Tax Standardization Act, was passed by the General Assembly last week. Several parts of this bill will bring much-needed reform to the business license tax system by requiring a standard application form, renewal date, appeals procedure and class schedules and creating a central online payment portal administered by a governmental agency that ensures taxpayer data remains protected. Passing a reform bill was a major item specified in our 2020 Competitiveness Agenda.
Have a great day,
Chris Hardy, CCE, IOM
President & CEO
Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce