SC politics: Revenue Department rules gay couples must file separately in S.C.

February 10, 2014 

Senator wants incentive pay for teachers

A Democratic state senator is proposing an incentive program aimed at putting South Carolina’s best teachers in front of students who need them the most.

Sen. John Matthews of Bowman said Monday that teachers who have proven they can boost students’ performance would be paid an additional $10,000 a year to work in high-poverty schools. For teachers to get the money in the final year of a three-year contract, their students’ test scores must show academic growth.

Matthews said he still is working on the details of a pilot program that he hopes will be added to the 2014-15 state budget.

It also would involve giving teachers bonuses for not missing school days and for traveling more than 30 miles to work. Teachers would get relocation assistance to move more than 50 miles.

Revenue Department rules S.C. gay couples must file separately

S.C. Department of Revenue has ruled same-sex couples who are legally married in another state must filed their state tax returns separately. The federal Internal Revenue Service allows married gay couples to file jointly, but South Carolina has a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. For tax purposes, South Carolina will not recognize couples wed in the 16 states and District of Columbia that have legalized gay marriage.

A bill has been introduced in the S.C. House to allow equal treatment of legally married couples in filing their state tax returns. However, it is not likely to pass.

Gay advocates said the state Revenue Department’s decision will require married same-sex couples to file paper state tax returns, which is more time consuming. “It is like asking us to take off our wedding rings and pretend just this once, that we are not actually married,” said Ryan Wilson, director of SC Equality, a gay-rights group.

Governor’s activities and schedule

Gov. Nikki Haley will sign a bill allowing guns in bars and address a big state tourism conference this week:

•  Tuesday, 10:30 a.m.: Hold a bill signing for S. 308, Concealed Carry Reform in the State House first floor lobby

Wednesday, Noon: Address the S.C. Governor’s Conference on Tourism & Travel Industry Awards Luncheon on Hilton Head Island

What Haley’s did last week, according to her office:

Five (each) – Plant, agency or community center visits and legislative or policy meetings

Three (each) – Media availabilities and proclamation readings

Two (each) – Speeches, staff meetings, constituent meetings or calls and school visits (both in North Carolina)

One (each) - Bill signing and State Budget and Control Board meeting

•  Busiest day – Thursday (10 activities)

•  Slowest day – Monday (Five activities)

Note: Haley met Wednesday with University of South Carolina system student government leaders at the State House.

On Thursday, she attended an anti-bullying play at the State House by a Beaufort High School drama class and met with the S.C. Mother of the Year Committee. She also called Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal to apologize for a remark she made about that state’s response to the January winter storm.

On Friday, she participated in an after-action review of the state’s response to the storm and spoke with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. She also met with S.C. Inspector General Pat Maley and staff. Her office said that meeting was a periodic one that Haley has with agencies. Maley’s office started a probe of S.C. State University last week.

Staff writer Andrew Shain and The Associated Press contributed.

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