SC Chamber Releases Recovery Plan for SC Businesses
Staff Report From South Carolina CEO
Wednesday, May 13th, 2020
South Carolina Chamber of Commerce (SC Chamber) released a comprehensive reopening and recovery plan for businesses in the Palmetto State. Results of the Chamber’s COVID-19 business survey, released last week, were key in shaping the development of “Relief and Recovery Agenda for SC Businesses.” Additionally, the SC Chamber’s policy committees provided input, with the members representing businesses from all sizes and sectors.
The recommendations in the plan fall into four major categories:
Workplace Safety. To build consumer confidence and limit workplace spread, policymakers should increase access to rapid-results COVID-19 testing and develop measures to increase the PPE supply.
Economic Relief and Recovery. To relieve financial hardship on businesses, policymakers should work to:
Ensure that any layoffs resulting from COVID-19 for the entirety of 2020 will not affect a business’s experience rating for unemployment insurance
Mitigate impacts on businesses from Unemployment Trust Fund insolvency
Pass the Business License Tax Reform Act (H.4431)
Allow for e-notarization for business transactions
Change nexus requirements
Extend economic development tax credits
Pass tax conformity
Workforce and Education. South Carolina's education and workforce pipeline must adapt to current conditions and make changes that will add resiliency to the system long-term should similar challenges arise in the future. Policymakers should develop measures to increase broadband access and adoption, provide e-Learning capabilities to more students, emphasize reskilling and retraining for the unemployed population, and allow for flexible and innovative education delivery methods.
Liability Protections. Every industry – from small businesses to healthcare providers – undertakes some risks by opening their doors. This is primarily due to ever-evolving information about the coronavirus and changing federal and state safety guidance. To help businesses reopen and remain open, policymakers should pass legislation to provide a safe harbor for good actors that are following the latest safety guidance. This legislation should also cover exposure liability and provide protection for manufacturers ramping up or starting production of PPE to meet increasing demands.
“South Carolina’s employers and job creators are hurting and need for policymakers to help. The Chamber’s Recovery Plan was developed by employers who know first-hand what it takes to put the state’s economy back on track. Our plan provides real, actionable policies that will make a difference for our state’s business community – from mom-and-pop shops to manufacturers.” –Ted Pitts, President and CEO of the SC Chamber
“As a small business operator that’s stayed open during the pandemic, one of my biggest concerns is lawsuits from someone exposed to COVID-19 even though I have followed all federal safety guidance. To get businesses back on track financially and avoid costly lawsuits, we need the General Assembly to pass liability protections.” –Steve Spinks, Chairman of the SC Chamber and CEO of The Spinx Company
“One of the most important issues facing our state and nation is access to reliable broadband internet. As head of one of the fastest-growing pharmaceutical companies in the country, I am well aware of the impact that limited broadband internet access has on health care delivery. Advancements in telehealth, which have played a critical role in the ongoing fight against COVID-19, can reduce costs and bring peace of mind with remote monitoring solutions and help empower patients and their doctors to manage their overall health.” –Lou Kennedy, Past Chair of the SC Chamber and President and CEO of Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation
“While many states are days away from running their Unemployment Insurance trust funds dry, South Carolina is fortunate to have many weeks left of solvency. However, we know this economic downturn will require us to replenish the fund sooner rather than later as we experience record levels of unemployment. The state should step in and mitigate the cost of replenishing the fund to avoid tax increases for businesses as well as maintain that businesses who lay off employees due to COVID-19 should not have their experience rating affected for the entirety of 2020.” –Chris Barras, Managing Director, Tax Services, Ernst and Young and Chairman of the SC Chamber Tax Committee
“The manufacturers of this state need clear and consistent guidance – not mandates – to reopen safely and sustainably. We’re working to keep our operations up-and-running and we’ll need a reliable supply of PPE and quick and efficient testing mechanisms to protect our employees and make sure we are able to continue to make the products that will help get South Carolina’s economy back at the top of its game.” –Matt Manelli, Division Controller, Nucor Steel, and Chairman of the SC Manufacturing Steering Committee
“With never before demands on students, teachers and administrators, the need for flexibility and innovation has never been more urgent in our education system than it is today. We must continue to ensure our students graduate prepared for college or a career while traditional in-class instruction delivery methods are likely to be significantly altered for quite some time. Similarly, as unemployment numbers spike, our education pipeline must quickly adapt in order to retrain and reskill citizens for the occupations employers need most.” –Kathy Dudley Helms, Shareholder with Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. and Chairman of the SC Chamber Education and Workforce Development Committee