The Weekly Rewind: Week of February 15th

HOUSE WEEK IN REVIEW
February 17, 2022

More Money in Your Pocket

The Palmetto State already enjoys lower taxes than neighboring states. Now, House Republicans and Governor McMaster have a plan to make them even lower. I am proud to have joined my House Republican colleagues, along with Governor McMaster, to roll out a plan to cut taxes in South Carolina by $1 billion. South Carolina’s economy is booming, with ARPA funds, infrastructure money, and years of conservative planning, we have a HISTORIC amount of surplus funds. Rather than spend every penny as some suggest, we’re returning it to the taxpayers.

Here’s how it will work:

This plan simplifies and modifies 2 income brackets: it collapses the 4%, 5%, and 6% brackets into 3% and reduces the top rate to 6.5% this year, and incrementally lowers it over the next 5 years until it hits 6%.

Once fully implemented, this plan will decrease the average effective rate taxpayers pay from 3.1% to 2.54%.

Puts $600 million back in the pockets of South Carolinians in the first year!

This new tax plan was introduced on Tuesday, Since then, the bill has been working its way through the committee process and as a sponsor of the bill, I will vote in favor of this plan to ensure the hardworking people of South Carolina get to keep the money that they earn. Simply put the plan will LOWER TAXES for every taxpayer except a small percentage that only pay $11 a year. (Those few individuals will still pay $11…not more)

ARPA Dollars: Where are they going?

Fiscal conservatism was the theme this week, as we passed an ARPA Funds Appropriations Bill, essentially outlining how we should handle the federal money on its way to South Carolina. As promised, we designated these dollars to state agencies for infrastructure improvements in rural and urban areas, including expanding and improving roads, highways, interstates, bridges, sewer, and broadband access. In particular, we are sending over $450 million to SCDOT, who are using the funds to improve roads, interstates, highways, and bridges. We allocated $800,000,000 to the Rural Infrastructure Authority, which is where a bulk of the water and sewer improvements will be done. We dedicated $400,000 ,000towards broadband expansion, which will impact rural areas the most in getting them connected. And we gave $100,000,000 to the Office of Resilience to fortify our infrastructure and accommodate for storm damage and flooding, natural disasters in our state.

Passed: Eliminate Taxes on Military Retirement

I recently updated you on legislation that aims to eliminate income taxes on military retirement making its way through committee. This week, I was proud to eliminate income taxes on military retirement. This bill passed unanimously and is on its way to the Senate. This is the least we can do to repay veterans for their sacrifice to our country.

Work in Progress: In Committee This Week

ELECTION INTEGRITY: I am proud to be a sponsor on a new comprehensive election bill, H. 4919. This bill is progressing through committee, and is currently in House Judiciary. Here are some of the protections that the bill includes:

Prevents candidates from being nominated by more than one political party or appearing on the ballot more than once.

Requires the witness of every absentee ballot to provide a printed name, signature, and address for identity verification and accountability.

Modifies the reasons that an absentee ballot can be cast, adding “absent from the country for the duration of early voting and election day” to the list.

Requires a form of valid government issued photo identification to cast an absentee ballot, as needed when casting a ballot on Election Day.

Allows absentee ballots to be opened and counted beginning at 7am on the Sunday before Election Day, in order for quicker election results when polls close.

Ensures that only one ballot can be cast, where any voter who has cast an absentee ballot can cast ONLY a provisional ballot on Election Day. This ballot will ONLY count if the absentee ballot is never received.

I am hopeful that this bill will soon come to the House floor, where I can vote to pass necessary new protections that go to maintain the integrity of our state election system. Of course, there seems to always be issues locally here in Richland and I will continue to be a watchdog as well so we avoid the past fiascos we’ve been subjected to years ago.

It’s an honor and privilege to serve you in Columbia! Please let me know anytime I can help you with any state agency or with any local issue. I’m happy to be your voice and put you in touch with the right areas (City of Columbia, Town of Irmo, Town of Chapin, etc). Email me at NathanBallentine@schouse.gov (PLEASE type CONSTITUENT in the subject line) or call my office 734-2969 or home 834-4613.

I appreciate your advice, concerns and prayers as we work towards finishing up this current session in the next few months!