SC Chamber to Hold Press Conference to Announce 2018 Competitiveness Agenda

List of Policy Priorities for Upcoming Legislative Session to be Released at Statehouse

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce will hold a press conference Monday, January 8th at 12:00 p.m. to announce its 2018 Competitiveness Agenda, a list of policy priorities for the upcoming legislative session. The 2018 Competitiveness Agenda was formed through stakeholder surveys, a statewide Grassroots Tour, and input from business leaders throughout the state. Chamber leadership will be joined by business leaders from across South Carolina to call on lawmakers to address tax reform and workforce development in 2018.

WHO: Ted Pitts, President & CEO, South Carolina Chamber of Commerce

Jack Sanders, President & CEO, Sonoco

Lou Kennedy, President & CEO, Nephron Pharmaceuticals

Mike Williams, Facility Personnel Manager, Michelin North America

Tim Norwood, President, Bistro Holdings, Inc.

Members of South Carolina Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors

WHAT: 2018 Competitiveness Agenda Press Conference

WHEN: Monday, January 8, 2017, 12:00 p.m.

WHERE: South Carolina Statehouse, 1st Floor Lobby

1205 Pendleton Street

Columbia, South Carolina 29201

“In 2017, our legislators passed a comprehensive solution to repair our state’s roads and bridges” said SC Chamber President & CEO Ted Pitts. “This year, we ask them to keep our state moving forward by reforming our state tax code and implementing solutions to close the skills gap between qualified workers and available jobs. South Carolina has vast potential for growth – from our world class port to our all-star workforce – and we need to ensure that our policies are allowing our state to prosper.”

2018 Competitiveness Agenda

Taxes. Make our tax system more competitive.
Lower property taxes for businesses. South Carolina is home to some of the highest commercial and manufacturing tax rates in the nation.
Reduce income tax burden on the state’s workforce. South Carolina’s top personal income tax rate is higher than any state in the Southeast, taxing workers’ income over $14,650 at 7%.

Workforce Development. Fill the Workforce Pipeline.
Grow apprenticeship opportunities. Currently there are 918 apprenticeship programs in South Carolina, ten times the amount from 2007. The Chamber will continue to work with the South Carolina Technical College system and the business community to continue to expand and cover even more industries and businesses.
Become the home of choice for veterans leaving the service and starting their second career by fully exempting military retirement benefits. 23 states fully exempt military retirement benefits, making those states more competitive in attracting veterans leaving the service.
Expand policies aimed at reintegrating ex-offenders into the workforce. Ex-offenders who have jobs are less likely to re-offend, and responsible workforce re-entry can help fill the workforce pipeline and reduce recidivism.
Shrink the skills gap by working with K-12, higher education, government training agencies and private sector partners.
Focus on soft skills development for our students. In a recent survey, over 500 representatives of companies from around South Carolina identified soft skills such as communication, team work, and punctuality as top concerns for people entering the workforce.
Address the growing prescription drug and opioid epidemic. The prescription drug and opioid crisis directly affects our state’s families and workforce. Opioid-related deaths in South Carolina are on the rise, growing 17% from 2014 to 2016.