The Palmetto Insider

The blog of the South Carolina Policy Council

How to Make Trial Lawyers Rich: H 4478

with 4 comments

It is a curious thing that even as legislators complain about massive budget cuts, they have passed an omnibus economic development tax credit act that provides an array of targeted credits and subsidies ostensibly aimed at stimulating South Carolina’s ailing economy. The so-called “Economic Development Competitiveness Act of 2010” (H 4478) is the brainchild of House Speaker Bobby Harrell and a team of high-powered consultants.

According to Harrell’s office, the bill represents a “proactive economic development strategy” that includes such recommendations as eliminating the corporate income tax and restoring funding to the Closing Fund. The strategy, in other words, is to stimulate the economy both by enacting broad-based tax cuts and by doling out subsidies to special interests. Except there are no broad-based cuts that would benefit taxpayers who don’t have well-connected lobbyists.

Indeed, the degree of special interest handouts in H 4478 reminds us of the BAT bill (H 3722) that passed the House and Senate last year … only to die in conference committee.  In any event, Senate leadership seems to have sent up a warning signal regarding the bill, boding ill for any future conference committee and, perhaps, suggesting the bill wouldn’t survive a gubernatorial veto.

Voting no on H 4478, here is what Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn McConnell (R-Charleston) had to say about the bill:

Statement by Senators McCONNELL and BRIGHT

Unfortunately, we were forced to vote against H. 4478. We voted against it even though we believe in what the Bill attempts to do and help with economic development in South Carolina. However, the Bill became a Christmas tree on which many amendments were added on varied subjects such as grease and algae biodiesel, dredging of canals, changes to the State’s hospitality tax, and nuclear power plants. Our State Constitution is very clear that each Bill relate but to one subject. This Bill, as amended, clearly does not. We have all sworn to uphold the Constitution of this State even when it means voting against Bills that are popular and that we support. All this Bill would do, as drafted, is get the State sued, costing our taxpayers money and make some trial lawyers rich. For that reason, we voted “no.”


Written by Jameson Taylor

June 8, 2010 at 7:56 am

4 Responses

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  1. […] Next up, both chambers will vote whether to concur with the conference committee version of the bill. Then, all eyes will be on the governor. Will he veto a bill that even Senate leaders have called a “Christmas tree”? […]

  2. […] drawn special interest deals (so much so that senators voting against the measure questioned its constitutionality).  But its real purpose is to empower the Legislature to grant more special interest […]

  3. […] 4478 became a “Christmas tree” of corporate […]

  4. […] H 4478 became a “Christmas tree” of corporate […]

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