Rally Planned at State House in Support of Business License Reform

Your Home Builders Association will participate in a rally in support of Business License Reform at the South Carolina State House on May 6.  The rally is scheduled to coincide with a public hearing on business license reform legislation that was recently introduced.  The rally will feature the release of results of an in-depth study of business license practices of municipalities and counties in South Carolina.

The rally will begin at 1 p.m. at the State House.  The public hearing is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. in the Blatt Building.  The House Ways and Means Committee will hold the hearing.

Please contact Michael Dey if you are able to travel to Columbia for the rally and hearing.

45th Annual Bird Supper- April 14th

The Bird Supper is April 14th, don’t miss out on your opportunity to speak with our elected officials about what is most important to you and our industry. 

 Since 1970, HBASC members and South Carolina’s legislators have been attending the Bird Supper. It’s the longest standing event on the South Carolina legislative calendar. Join us on Tuesday, April 14, 2015 as we gather with our legislators over a delicious dinner of fried quail, grits, green beans, biscuits, and other fine Southern cuisine. 
Tuesday, April 14 2015 6:30 p.m. Seawells Columbia, S.C. Builder’s PAC Cocktail reception prior to Bird Supper for Hammer donors. 
Tickets available through your local HBA office. 
Tickets are $35.00 per person.

The Bird Supper is considered the best attended legislative event year after year, so don’t miss out make sure that you have registered by Tuesday, April 7th.

More Stringent Wood Heater Requirements on the Way

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized a new standard that sets more stringent emissions requirements for wood-burning stoves. For the first time, the standard also covers hydronic heaters, indoor wood-fired forced-air furnaces and single burn-rate woodstoves.

Proposed emissions standards for masonry heaters were not included in the final rule. It is also important to note that the standard does not apply to devices already installed and in house, nor does it cover fireplaces, fire pits, pizza ovens, barbecues or chimineas.

EPA expects to see a notable drop in emissions once the rule is fully in place. Fine particle and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions should go down by about 70% while carbon monoxide emissions are estimated to be 62% lower.

To allow manufacturers sufficient time to transition to the new standards and comply with emissions testing requirements, EPA is requiring work practice standards beginning on Feb. 3 and phasing in the new emission limits over five years.

The exact timing of and Step 1 emission limits vary by furnace type and size. However, all heaters must meet the Step 2 emissions limits within five years after the final rule is published, or 2020.

This is the first time EPA has revised the clean air standard for residential wood heaters since it was first adopted in 1988. EPA has more information about controlling air pollution from residential wood heaters.

How the President’s Proposed Budget Affects Home Builders

President Obama on Feb. 2 unveiled a nearly $4 trillion fiscal 2016 budget proposal that includes $650 billion in tax increases to pay for infrastructure and tax breaks geared toward middle class households. The administration is also proposing to eliminate sequestration and increase non-defense and defense discretionary spending. To pay for this, the White House is proposing $1.8 trillion in tax hikes and other offsets and savings, including $400 billion in healthcare expenditure reductions.

We have heard the pundits discuss the proposal, mostly in terms of the political impact.  But how does the President’s proposal affect Home Builders?


  • Proposes $49.3 billion in funding, an 8.7% increase over the fiscal 2015 approved appropriation.
  • Increases funding for the HOME program from $900 million in fiscal 2015 to $1.06 billion.
  • Decreases Community Development Block Grant funding from $3.07 billion to $2.88 billion.
  • Restores approximately 67,000 Housing Choice Vouchers lost in 2013 due to sequestration.
  • Supports a shift of Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance funding from a fiscal to a calendar year basis.
  • Estimates that FHA’s Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund, which supports FHA single-family programs, will grow by $14 billion over the next two years.
  • Describes the recent decrease in the annual mortgage insurance premium for FHA-insured single-family loans from 135 to 85 basis points, which the administration estimates will allow an additional 250,000 low- and moderate-income borrowers to become home owners.
  • Business and Individual Tax Provisions
  • Limits the amount of capital gain deferred under section 1031 from the exchange of real property to $1 million (indexed for inflation) per taxpayer per taxable year.
  • Characterizes carried interest as ordinary income.
  • Recommends extending the exclusion from income for cancellation of certain home mortgage debt until the end of 2017.
  • Limits the value of certain tax expenditures to 28% of exclusions and deductions that would otherwise reduce taxable income in the 33%, 35% or 39.6% tax brackets.
  • Increases the highest long-term capital gains and qualified dividend tax rate from 20% to 24.2%. The 3.8% net investment income tax would continue to apply. The maximum total capital gains and dividend tax rate including net investment income tax would thus rise to 28%.
  • Imposes a new minimum tax, called the Fair Share Tax (FST), on high-income taxpayers. The tentative FST would equal 30% of AGI less a credit for charitable contributions.
  • Recommends increasing the estate, generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax, and gift tax top tax rate to 45% with an exclusion amount of $3.5 million for estate and GST taxes, and $1 million for gift taxes. There would be no indexing for inflation.
  • Requires a contractor receiving payments of $600 or more in a calendar year from a particular business to furnish to the business (on Form W-9) the contractor’s certified taxpayer identification number (TIN). A business would be required to verify the contractor’s TIN with the IRS.
  • Repeals Section 530 of the Revenue Act of 1978, which provides an explicit safe harbor for employers when classifying workers as employees or independent contractors.

Energy Tax Provisions

  • Calls for extending and updating the current 179D deduction for energy-efficient commercial buildings, including multifamily buildings.
  • Recommends extending the Section 45L tax credit for energy efficient new homes.

Low Income Housing Tax Credit Proposals

  • Allows states, based on a formula, to convert up to 18% of their private activity bond volume cap into 9% credits.
  • Allows LIHTC projects to serve individuals earning up to 80% of area median income (AMI) as long as the average income of all tenants remains no more than 60% of AMI.
  • Opposes fixing the 9% credit rate. Instead, recommends a new way to calculate the floating rate for both the present value applicable percentage and the 30% present value applicable percentage, but only with respect to allocated LIHTCs. Under the proposal, the discount rate to be used would be the average of the mid-term and long-term applicable federal rates for the relevant month, plus 200 basis points.
  • Adds the preservation of federally assisted affordable housing as an eleventh selection criterion that qualified allocation plans must include.
  • Allows HUD to designate as a qualified census tract (QCT) any census tract that meets the current statutory criteria of a poverty rate of at least 25% or 50% or more of households with an income less than 60% of AMI. That is, the proposal would remove the current limit under which the aggregate population in census tracts designated as QCTs cannot exceed 20% of the metropolitan area’s population.
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration
  • Provides a 7% increase over the 2015 enacted level to $592 million.
  • Requests 40 new OSHA staff to support the investigations (i.e., inspections) resulting from the new injury reporting requirements, which require employers to report work-related hospitalizations, amputations and losses of an eye.


  • Emphasizes the need to strengthen worker misclassification programs, including new penalties for recordkeeping violations and a focus on “high-risk” and “fissured” industries, such as construction. The budget seeks $10 million to strengthen worker misclassification programs at the state level.
  • Calls on Congress to act on comprehensive immigration reform this year. The administration supports the Senate approach taken in 2013, which includes the limitation of a workable visa plan for the construction industry.
  • Includes $2 billion for the Paid Leave Partnership Initiative to assist up to five states that wish to launch paid leave programs. Participating states would be eligible to receive funds for the initial set-up and half of the benefit costs of the program for three years. The budget also includes a $35 million State Paid Leave Fund to provide technical assistance and support to states that are still building the infrastructure they need to launch such programs in the future.

It is important to note that no Executive Budget is ever enacted “as is” by Congress and this budget may not be enacted at all because Republicans control both the House and the Senate. Given the size, cost, complexities and major policy overhauls that this blueprint entails, the battle ahead is likely to be contentious as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle debate its merits on an array of fronts — from social spending to energy policy to taxes.

Your HBA will remain deeply engaged as the budget process moves forward, fighting to strip out any provisions that will harm housing and promoting elements that will help small businesses and the housing sector.

S.C. House introduces Business License Reform Legislation

Representative Rick Quinn (R), of Richland County, along with Reps. Merrill, Rivers, and Atwater, and 20 other co-sponsors, introduced H.3490 earlier this week. This bill is a top legislative priority for your Home Builders Association.  The purpose of the bill is to lower the paperwork and tax burden that local government places on businesses.

As introduced, this legislation would create a centralized collection system under the SC Department of Revenue, and bring South Carolina into the 21st century by allowing online payment of these fees. Additionally, the bill would change the payment structure from its current form. Businesses would be required to pay the business license fee only in the jurisdiction where the company’s state income tax return is address, and the fee is capped at $100 per business. This would be a huge relief to businesses operating in multiple jurisdictions while also improving the ease of compliance.

Your Home Builders Association is currently working with the National Federation of Independent Business as well as other groups to push for this legislation. Our group is working on a study to demonstrate just how cumbersome and onerous this problem is for our members. It is our hope that this information will illustrate to the General Assembly the significance of this problem and the need for reform.

This is where you come in. If you have experienced difficulties with business license fees in your area, please feel free to send them to Matt Niehaus a mniehaus@hbaofsc.com. If you have any questions about this, or any other issue, please feel free to contact Matt.  You also can call him at 803-771-7408.

Read the media coverage of the legislation by clicking here.