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Chamber may endorse state 'competitiveness agenda'

Posted: February 21, 2012 4:02 p.m.
Updated: February 22, 2012 5:00 a.m.

South Carolina Chamber of Commerce President Otis Rawl asked the Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce (KCCC) to endorse the state’s 2012 Competiveness Agenda Thursday.

The 2012 Competitiveness Agenda is the chamber’s list of legislative priorities.

The agenda includes comprehensive tax reform, economic development, workforce development, infrastructure, environment and energy and government restructuring. The agenda is drafted from grassroots meetings that are held around the state yearly, KCCC Executive Director Liz Horton said.

“The state chamber will be more powerful with endorsement(s) from county chambers,” Horton said.

The tax policy, for example, asks lawmakers to overhaul current state tax codes and implement policies that will create more “competitive … long-term economic prosperity.” An improved business environment with tax reform, workforce development and entrepreneurship will help expand opportunity in South Carolina, which currently ranks No. 37 in a CNBC comparison of state business climates, according to the state chamber.

The state chamber is also pushing for road improvements. The S.C. Department of Transportation has not had an increase in funding since 1987, according to state chamber documents. South Carolina currently spends about $15,000 per mile. Georgia spends $35,000 per mile; North Carolina, $150,000 per mile. Improved infrastructure will make improve South Carolina’s standing among the competition, Rawl said. 

The KCCC has worked closely with the state chamber since 2009. Horton said although a board member may have a personal objection to a particular part of the agenda, the agenda as a whole is strong.

The chamber board will have a vote on the state agenda in March.

In other news:

• Images, the Kershaw County magazine sponsored by the chamber, is now available.

• The chamber has created its calendar of chamber events for the first half of the year; it is currently planning its legislative event.

• The chamber will host several Business After Hours events this spring, as well as the TruVista Chamber Golf Challenge in April.

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