The Palmetto Insider

The blog of the South Carolina Policy Council

Second TRAC Meeting: September 30, 2009

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The Taxation Realignment Commission (TRAC) met for the second time on Wednesday.  On the agenda was the adoption of minutes from the previous meeting, the adoption of “Assessment Criteria,” a presentation by Dr. William C. Gillespie on the “Revenue Situation,” and Part I of the “Sales Tax Exemptions Technical Review.” 

Here we will focus on the adoption of the previous meeting’s minutes and clarification regarding a ban on lobbying TRAC members.

As it turns out, the ban on lobbying is not quite as restrictive as it first seemed. In fact, Chairman Bernie Maybank indicated that, “just about the only thing that a lobbyist could not do is lobby the TRAC Commission members.”  For instance, lobbyists may interact with members of the General Assembly. And, as Maybank specifically pointed out, lobbyists may communicate with members of the General Assembly regarding “tax provisions that are directly implicated by what [TRAC’s] doing.”

Recall that with the exception of Brian Moody and Ken Wingate, both appointees of Governor Sanford, the members of TRAC are selected by members of the General Assembly. Given that General Assembly members, as well as their staff, are permitted to be lobbied regarding TRAC provisions – and given that members of the General Assembly are permitted to confer with their appointees – then we have every reason to expect that indirect lobbying of TRAC members is going to be taking place.

The commission was also advised that General Assembly staff will “of course need to speak with lobbyists regarding legislation for the upcoming session,” and that TRAC lobbying guidelines will not prohibit that. Furthermore, the lobbying ban will not impact individuals from meeting with legislators to discuss various economic development projects, which will inevitably raise questions related to tax credits and other tax-related issues.

So, if you’re a lobbyist, don’t worry. The committee’s ban on lobbying might make things a little more difficult, but you’ll still be able to get the message across. If you’re a concerned taxpayer, though, start worrying … and keep worrying … and checking back here for updates.

See the video below for more details on TRAC’s lobbyist provision discussion.

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Written by SC Policy Council

October 1, 2009 at 3:09 pm

Posted in Committee Meetings

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