HBA Legislative Agenda to focus on taxes and fees paid by Home Builders

The HBA of South Carolina announced its legislative agenda for 2011. Click here to read the entire agenda.

Central to the agenda are four issues where your Home Builders Association has set out to directly save home builders money.

Multi-Lot Discount
The Multi-Lot Discount benefits builders and developers who hold at least 10 finished lots that have not yet been improved with a house. The program discounts the value of the lots to its pre-development value until a house is constructed on the lot.

When this program was implemented in the late 90s, the result of the legislative efforts of your Home Builders Association, the maximum time a lot could benefit from the discount was five years. At that time no one could imagine a housing downturn like we have recently experienced.

As a result, the HBA of South Carolina will lobby to extend to seven years the amount of time a builder or developer can qualify for the discount.

Impact Fees
Continue to defend this crucial statute, which your Home Builders Association lobbied for passage in the late 90s. This law insures that impact fees are proportionate to the impact that development has on government infrastructure and also insures that impact fees are not collected for a purpose for which development does not have an impact.

Each year government work to chip away at this important law. Efforts are underway in several jurisdictions, primarily along the coast, to water down this law. Your Home Builders Association will take steps to protect the law and strengthen where appropriate.

Multiple Business Licenses
Your Home Builders Association of Greenville, along with other HBAs around the state, have called on the HBA of South Carolina to address a trend in local government of taxing businesses multiple times on the same volume of business. The HBA of South Carolina will work to pass a simple, more predictable method of assessing and collecting business license fees in South Carolina.

Local Government Regulatory Reform
Local governments have increasingly raised fees and permit charges on the construction industry to increase funding generated. The increases can be found in tap fees, sewer connection charges, and road maintenance and expansion fees. Your Home Builders Association will work to curb this growth in fees and apply the same principals to government regulatory fees that were applied to development impact fees.

You can click here to read the entire Home Builders Legislative Agenda.

Bird Supper
A key way that you can participate in this legislative program is to attend the Bird Supper. This event is where Home Builders from around the state come together to talk to their legislators about this legislative agenda.

When: Wednesday, March 23
Where: Columbia, SC

New Study Shows American Dream Under Threat from Excessive Regulation

ST. LOUIS, Oct. 6, 2010 — New research from Demographia, an international public policy consulting firm, shows that the American Dream of home ownership has all but ended in some metropolitan areas.

The just released Demographia Residential Land & Regulation Index shows, for example, that new house costs have skyrocketed in San Diego as a result of land and regulation costs, which have risen to 13 times normal. In four other metropolitan areas (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Portland, Seattle and Washington-Baltimore) land and regulatory costs have risen from two to six times normal. In contrast, land and regulation costs in six metropolitan areas (Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Indianapolis, Raleigh-Durham and St. Louis) remain at historic normal levels.

The increase in land and regulation cost is estimated to have added $220,000 to the price of entry-level new housing in San Diego and from $29,000 in Minneapolis-St. Paul to $74,000 in Washington-Baltimore. “Excessive regulations have driven house prices up strongly in some metropolitan areas, where the American Dream of home ownership could become a thing of the past,” said Wendell Cox, principal of Demographia. He added that “in other metropolitan areas, the Dream of home ownership remains alive and it is not surprising that households are flocking to these areas.”

Cox went on to say that “this massive loss in housing affordability was an unanticipated consequence of regulations that have imposed urban growth boundaries, building moratoria, excessively expensive development impact fees and bureaucratic processes.” Before the restrictive regulations were imposed, there was little difference in new or existing house prices relative to incomes among the nation’s metropolitan areas.

More restrictive regulations often go by the innocent sounding labels of “smart growth” and “growth management,” however these regulations are routinely adopted without any consideration of the longer term impacts on housing affordability and the standard of living for average Americans. These impacts are particularly ominous given the recession, proposals for higher tax increases, and the possibility that job creation and economic growth may be less robust in the future.

Economic research has documented the association between more restrictive land use regulations and house prices. This reduces the standard of living by leaving less household income for other needs. Just as importantly, more restrictive land use regulations tend to reduce job creation and economic growth in the metropolitan areas where implemented.

Read the entire report by clicking here.

HBA of South Carolina and Charleston Jointly Sue Dorchester School District Over Impact Fee

The Home Builders Association of South Carolina and the Charleston-Trident Home Builders Association have initiated legal action against Dorchester County School District 2 challenging an impact fee resulting from special legislation adopted by the General Assembly in 2009. Both associations allege that the special law, and the fee, are in violation of the Constitution of the State of South Carolina.

In 2009 the General Assembly adopted special legislation sponsored by Senator Mike Rose allowing Dorchester County School District 2 to impose a $2,500 impact fee on new homes. “We believe this violates the constitution because it gives only one school district the authority to collect the tax,” Phillip Ford, Executive Vice President of the Charleston-Trident Home Builders Association, said.

“The state’s constitution is very clear in prohibiting special legislation that applies to only one county, city, or school district,” Ford said. “It is unfortunate that we have to take this action, but it is important that all South Carolinians challenge their government when they believe their government has made a mistake,” Ford said. “We believe it is important to insure that our public schools have adequate funding to meet their needs and mandates, but we also believe that those funds should come to them from legal sources.”

“Regardless of the schools need for funding, our constitution protects citizens from this type of special legislation when a general law provides guidance for the state as a whole,” said Mark Nix, Executive Director of the Home Builders Association of South Carolina.

The lawsuit will be filed on September 29 in Dorchester County Court of Common Pleas.