Update – July 19 to July 25, 2010

The House of Representatives has adjourned for the 2010 session. I hope that you find this update helpful and informative:

Tax Realignment Commission (TRAC) Update – Sales Tax: The biggest news of this week as to our state government is that the TRAC Commission submitted a draft of its sales tax report which proposes a variety of changes that would have an impact on South Carolina residents and business-owners. The report recommends that the State do the following:

1. Lower the state wide sales tax from 6% to 4.96%.

2. Repeal the sales tax exemptions for prosthetics; hearing aids; cars with dealer tags; self-propelled light construction equipment; fire truck equipment; tangible personal property sold to the federal government; feed for poultry and livestock; containers for preparing agriculture, dairy, grove, garden, turpentine and gun resin for sale; newspapers; wrapping paper, twine, bags and containers for sale and delivery of personal property; railroad cars, locomotives and monorail cars; vessels and barges more than 50 tons burden; farm, grove, vineyard and garden products that are sold by the producer; equipment and electricity sold to TV and radio stations; plants and animals sold to public zoos and gardens; gas and electricity used in the production of poultry, livestock, swine and milk; concessions sales at festivals; materials for commercial housing of poultry and livestock; extended warranties on vehicles; sweet grass baskets; and equipment operated by hydrogen fuel cells. These items would be subject to the new 4.96% statewide sales tax.

3. Implement a new 2.5% sales tax on groceries, electricity, prosthetics, and prescription drugs.

4. Eliminate the exemption for vacation time share plans and the general one percent sales tax exemption for people 85 and older is.

As to the current recommendations from last week , click here for a section by section summary, and click here for the full report.

Further Work by the TRAC Commission: The TRAC Commission is also considering recommending the following:

1. Charging the state’s sales tax on services, including massages and facials at day spas and hair care at salons;

2. Cutting back on the scope of goods subject to the tax free “back to school” weekend;

3. Eliminating the tax free weekend for guns and hunting supplies;

4. Changing the state’s gas tax.

Not the Final TRAC Report: This is NOT the final report of the Commission. They are considering other taxes in the state beyond the state sales tax. They will continue to receive input and will not take a final vote until their September meeting.

My Initial Observations on the TRAC Sales Tax Report: I am sure that this initial report and its recommendations will not please everyone as we all know that it is impossible to please everyone all the time. My understanding is that the TRAC Commission members say that South Carolina must update its tax system to create the broadest tax base possible with the lowest tax rate possible. To do this, the State must diversify its tax structure and spread the burden along as wide a base as possible. This is NOT the final report of the Commission. They will continue to receive input and will not take a final vote until their September meeting. As for me, I am studying the report and its recommendations. I also am studying the materials that the TRAC Commission considered which you can also review by clicking here. Any recommendations of the TRAC Commission ultimately have to be approved by the General Assembly and the Governor during the normal legislative process of next year’s session. The General Assembly and Governor can accept all, some, or none of the recommendations. If you want me to know your thoughts over the coming months on these issues, please let me know.

Speaking to Groups Around the District: Several local groups have asked me to attend one of their meetings to provide an end of session report to their members. If you have a group that would like for me to come to a meeting during the next few months, please let me know.

Responding to Constituent Email: I am behind in responding to a large volume of constituent email which I received in the last part of June.

Email Updates: Many people in District 81 are receiving this email update. However, there are many others who do not receive them because I do not know their email addresses. If you know of people who do not receive my updates but they would like to, please email their names and email addresses to me.

Road Issues: If you see a road problem, you can call the SCDOT at 641-7665 or Aiken County at 642-1532 to report the problem. If you do not get a prompt response, please let me know at TomYoung@schouse.gov or call me. In the past six months, I have received many different reports of problems and I have relayed those to the appropriate agencies.

Thank you for the opportunity to represent you. Please let me know if I can help you in any way or if you have questions about these or other issues. Your feedback is meaningful and appreciated.


Tom Young

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