Public Policy Agenda

A Regional Vision for Prosperity

The Columbia Chamber strives to promote issues that are important to regional growth and support public policy and economic development. By creating and maintaining a unified body, we continue to make great progress in developing a regional vision.

LOCAL AGENDA

TRANSPORTATION

Infrastructure is essential in order to sustain existing businesses and support new business development.

The Columbia Chamber Supports:

  • Implementing Richland County’s Transportation Penny projects efficiently with accountability and transparency.
  • Identifying a solution to the City of Columbia’s current and future parking issues.
  • Developing a comprehensive COMET bus network, designed for and located to better match the geographic areas of high job growth with job seekers in Richland and Lexington Counties.

LOCAL CONTROL

The ability to provide leadership and overall management of local boards and commissions is a direct obligation of the jurisdiction being served.

The Columbia Chamber Supports:

  • Legislation that provides county governments the authority to manage boards and commissions in special purpose districts.
  • Working with local governments to ensure boards and commissions are operating within their stated guidelines and boundaries.

COST OF DOING BUSINESS

The Chamber’s Business-Friendly Taskforce promotes the creation of a stronger business climate by directly addressing factors such as the high cost of taxes in Richland County and the City of Columbia relative to comparable communities, and the excessive bureaucratic red tape intrinsic in the government structure.

The Columbia Chamber Supports:

  • Limiting tax and fee increases, and finding opportunities for coordination between taxing entities to promote improved efficiency.
  • Implementing a simplified and efficient permitting process thus facilitating economic growth.
  • Completing the implementation of the business licensing tracking system at the City of Columbia to allow business persons the ability to access and track their requests through a user-friendly online portal, as recommended by the Chamber’s Business-Friendly Taskforce.

STATE AGENDA

EDUCATION AND WORKFORCE READINESS

A highly skilled, well-educated workforce is critical to increase job opportunities and long-term business growth within the region.

The Columbia Chamber Supports:

  • Encouraging the South Carolina General Assembly to fully fund the Education Finance Act, reducing the additional revenue required by local districts.
  • Addressing the workforce shortage responsibly, and in a manner that provides an immediate boost to the population of potential employees prepared to fill current job openings.
  • Improving employment outcomes and addressing critical workforce development needs through programs that incentivize employers who hire registered apprentices.

TAXES AND REGULATIONS

Streamlined business processes will encourage the growth of businesses in the Midlands.

The Columbia Chamber Supports:

  • Adopting a uniform business license fee process to increase efficiency throughout the permitting process for companies across all local jurisdictions.
  • Providing tax credits through the reauthorization of the Angel Investment Act, for South Carolinians who invest in homegrown start-up companies.
  • Reviewing the South Carolina tax code to find an alternative to Act 388, the 2006 revision to the property tax code that places an undue burden on the business community.
  • Expanding the Corporate Headquarters Tax Credit thus increasing the attractiveness of the area for companies to relocate here.

MILITARY

Military bases in South Carolina account for a significant portion of the state’s total economic activity.

The Columbia Chamber Supports:

  • The full exemption of state income taxes for military retirement pay, making South Carolina the retirement community of choice.

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