The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce said Wednesday it wants the General Assembly to focus on three issues when legislators return to the State House next week.
Three top three concerns are infrastructure accountability and funding, workforce development and business licensing reform. Previously, the chamber has listed eight or 10 issues of concern, said Ted Pitts, the chamber’s president and CEO.
“This year it’s three items. We want to make sure that our policymakers are focused on those issues that are important to the business community and there’s no confusion about what work we need for them to do.”
Infrastructure accountability and funding
The General Assembly must finally address the state’s crumbling infrastructure in 2016, including its pot-holed and washed-out roads, crowded and crumbling interstates and unsafe bridges, the chamber said. The state’s roads and bridges cost businesses money, business leaders have said, and create safety issues for the public. The Chamber is pushing for the state Department of Transportation to be brought into the Cabinet under the governor’s control and wants the General Assembly to commit at least $600 million to a sustainable, recurring fund for infrastructure.
Businesses say workforce development is the most pressing issue they face, according to the Chamber. New workers are needed to replace the retiring workforce and to fill new jobs being created by industry locating in the Palmetto State. Workforce development must be addressed through education, including early childhood instruction.
Business licensing reform
The process S.C. businesses must go through for licensing is cumbersome and unfriendly, leaders said Wednesday. Municipalities have their own processes, including different forms, applications, rate classes and other features. The chamber wants a standardized licensing process with one set of rate classifications, one expiration date, and online processing so business owners are not forced to travel to each municipality to apply.
Roddie Burris: 803-771-8398