House bill would reduce tax-relief funds for counties


The South Carolina House of Representatives is considering H.3374, a bill that would freeze funding of the Local Government Fund (LGF) for the next two years, then begin allowing for a possible increase of 2 percent, provided that the state General Fund grows by 4 percent or more. The South Carolina Association of Counties (SCAC) said there is a significant difference between funding under the current formula and the proposed new formula.

“Full funding of the LGF this year would send $70 million additional dollars back to the counties statewide in this fiscal year,” the SCAC said. “Funding under H.3374 would send $3 million back to counties statewide in FY17-18 if the General Fund grows by more than 4 percent.”

The SCAC reportedly supports an amendment to rewrite the bill with a three-year phase-in to the current formula amount, as the ability for counties to raise revenue has been severely restricted by the millage gap, and many counties have exhausted their reserves. This could lead to severe funding issues for county offices due to an anticipated lack of any real growth in the LGF, causing the impact of H.3374 to fall on county departments and rural property taxpayers.

“The LGF is a tax-relief issue, a county funding issue and a public safety issue,” the SCAC said. “If proper funding is not received from the state to fund state services, then tax dollars must be shifted away from public safety and other county services.”

For more information, contact SCAC at 800-922-6081 or visit www.sccounties.org.

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