Chris Hardy of the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce Offers Opinion of the 2018 Legislative Session

Chris Hardy

Thursday, February 1st, 2018

While geared to the members of the Sumter Chamber, we  thought Chris Hardy's remarks were applicable to CEO's and business owners statewide.

As our state delegation is just a few weeks into the general session, there are several issues being discussed that could make this year a very interesting legislative season. Last week I attended the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce’s annual Business Speaks legislative forum and reception. Some of the speakers included Sen. Hugh Leatherman, Rep. Jay Lucas, Rep. Gary Simrill, Rep. Brian White, Rep. John Rutherford, Rep. Rita Allision and Senator John Matthews.
 
Obviously, the elephant in the room would have thought to be the continued discussion of the failed nuclear facility in Fairfield County though the conversation was minimal on that topic. For most of the 2 hours, discussion centered around income and property tax relief in which South Carolina continues to be one the highest corporate property tax states in the country. In addition, Act 388 which was passed in the mid 2000’s continues to burden our small businesses though at this point and time there are no answers to replace the tax revenue if repealed. Unfortunately, with this being an election year it is highly unlikely to be discussed much.
 
Other topics of priority this general session will be workforce development, education, medical marijuana legalization and addressing the opioid crisis. The Chamber has not taken an official position on any of these issues though we are closely watching several of these as they could have a significant impact on Sumter County, our region and our state. If legislation is introduced on these issues it is possible the Chamber will take a position in support of or in opposition to. If so, we will communicate our position to you immediately. Please be sure to reach out to our Sumter County delegation and let them know they are appreciated and we support their efforts.
 
As we prepare for the annual Chamber Retreat in Greenville, the anticipation is building as we get closer to presenting our 2018-2020 Strategic Plan. Next week we will forward the plan to all our members and will be available for download on the Chambers website at www.sumterchamber.com. There are some exciting things that our division councils are working on for this year. Our Small Business Council is working on a program that will provide immediate assistance to start up and existing small businesses. There are also some exciting things in the works with our Leadership Development, Existing Industry, Military Affairs and Education divisions. We will keep you updated on their progress as announcements should be coming very soon.
 
If you have questions or concerns about anything listed above, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Thank you for your continued support of OUR Chamber of Commerce and we look forward to a great 2018.

Chris Hardy, CCE, IOM

President & CEO

Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce

Chris.hardy@sumterchamber.com

Cell: 803-464-1817

Office: 803-775-1231

About Chris Hardy

Chris Hardy is president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce.