SC Chamber of Commerce unveils 2020 Competitiveness Agenda

January 13, 2020

Creating a Competitive Tax Code and a Workforce for the Future Among Highlighted Priorities

The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce (SC Chamber) announced the release of its 2020 Competitiveness Agenda today in advance of the 2020 legislative session starting tomorrow. The Competitiveness Agenda, developed annually, consists of initiatives impacting job creators and businesses from industry sectors and regions across the state. Competitiveness Agenda items will help South Carolina create a more competitive environment for jobs and businesses.

As the champion for business in the state, the Chamber is calling for policymakers to reform the state’s tax code by lowering the personal income tax rate and overhauling the state’s unfair and complex business license tax system. The Chamber is also calling for policymakers to reform the state’s education system to better prepare students and graduates to fill today’s jobs. The Chamber Board approved the 2020 Competitiveness Agenda after extensive input from the business community, which included talking to and surveying its members, as well as from its annual Grassroots Tour with over 20 stops to hear from local chamber membership from all regions of the state.

SC Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Ted Pitts said, “In 2020, the Chamber is focused on making our tax code more competitive with states in the Southeast and creating a workforce for the future. With an over $1.8 billion surplus this year, a onetime $50 check was appreciated last year but will not cut it this year. It is time for the legislature to permanently lower personal income tax rates for South Carolina’s workers. Similarly, the business license tax system is one of the most business unfriendly things we force on our small businesses. We need a system that is fairer and easier to comply with. There is nothing more important to business than a strong education system. It is the key to an effective workforce development pipeline. We continue to encourage the General Assembly to implement meaningful reforms in education with the goal of preparing all students for success.”

“As a business owner I’ve seen firsthand that there are things we need to improve as a state,” said Steve Spinks, Chairman of the SC Chamber and CEO of The Spinx Company. “Reforming our antiquated tax structure, broken property tax system, and costly and complex business license structure has to be top priority. The General Assembly must also pass laws that prepare our workforce for the future by passing education reform, expanding access to broadband, increasing affordable workforce housing, and linking education and workforce data.”

2020 Competitiveness Agenda

Competitive Tax Code

  • Lower personal income tax rates for the state’s workforce.
  • Make the business license tax system fair and less complex.
  • Provide property tax relief to businesses and renters.

Workforce for the Future

  • Finish the job on comprehensive education reform – strengthen Read to Succeed, create more Schools of Innovation, focus on our underperforming schools, and increase early childhood education participation.
  • Increase affordable workforce housing closer to where jobs are located.
  • Link education and workforce data to identify and fix gaps in the workforce pipeline.
  • Expand broadband access in rural areas for education, healthcare and small business needs.

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“For nearly a decade the business community – with small businesses leading the charge – has asked the General Assembly to simplify and standardize how over 230 local governments assess the business license tax. The current system is burdensome and requires businesses to pay taxes on gross, not net, income. We cannot continue to delay; the General Assembly must make fixing this system a priority in the 2020 session.” –Thomas Rhodes, President, Rhodes Graduation Services Inc.

“Tax reform would improve our climate for business development, give company owners the ability to hire more workers and grow our economy. The business community is ready to work together with the governor and members of the General Assembly to make tax reform a reality this legislative session.”–Lou Kennedy, President and CEO, Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation

“Act 388 has placed an unfair burden on businesses and renters. Our state has the 4th highest industrial property tax rates in the nation and our renters, who often do not even realize they face this burden, effectively pay three times the property tax rates as homeowners. Reform is needed to keep our economy competitive.” –Boyd Jones, Executive VP, Director, Middle Market Banking, Synovus

“In 2019, both the House and Senate introduced comprehensive education reform bills. This year, we’re asking them to finish the job and pass a bill that strengthens Read to Succeed, increases accountability in underperforming school districts and supports Schools of Innovation. It’s also time to make South Carolina more competitive and bring our teacher salary up to the national average. Our businesses can’t thrive without a well-prepared workforce and 2020 is the year to make sure we get closer to every child leaving high school ready for college or a career.” –Kathy Dudley Helms, Shareholder with Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.


About the SC Chamber

The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce is the State’s Champion for Business, with a vision to make South Carolina the best place in the nation to live, work, and do business. A statewide organization that promotes pro-job and business policies at the state and federal level, it brings together businesses across the state with coordinated strategies, trainings, committees, and events. With a unified voice, we can make the biggest impact. Our member insights shape the policies we write, and the agenda we promote at the State House. Learn more at