The 124th Session of the South Carolina Legislature wrapped up this week in Columbia. This was the second year of a two-year session.

There is always a mix of emotions when the session is over – relief, regret over what didn’t get done, some satisfaction of what did get done, and always self-criticism over what you could have done better. That being said, a lot has been accomplished over the last two years that I believe puts South Carolina in a better position long term for our kids and grandkids.

We just passed the largest budget in state history. At the same time, we passed the largest tax cut while giving back the largest tax rebate and adding more money to the “rainy day” reserves (from 7% to 10%).

On the tax cuts beginning July 1, the top tax bracket of 7% drops to 6.5% immediately. It will ramp down to 6% over 5 years. All military retirement income goes to 0% (a separate bill, but worth noting).

We also cut the manufacturing property tax from 9% to 6%, which saves almost $100 million for those South Carolina companies that aren’t getting the “new guy on the block” deals. This tax rebate, which totals close to $1 billion dollars, will be sent to all people who had a state income tax liability last year. The rebate will max out at about $800, and the checks will be mailed in November.

We also passed what some refer to as the “strongest election law reform” in the country. This legislation ensures South Carolina elections will remain secure, and will give us confidence that the counts are accurate.

We cut back on reasons for mail-in votes, changed “absentee voting” to “early voting” so you don’t have to give an excuse to vote early, and cut off voting on the Friday before the election. I voted early in both the Primary and Runoff and it was super easy. This will be huge to have in place before the next Presidential election in two years.

In all, the 124th session had 261 bills that were signed into law, with two still waiting on the Governor’s signature. To get a look at all of the bills, you can click here.

As we head into this holiday weekend and celebrate our country’s 246th birthday, I hope we all remember how blessed we are to live in this country and especially South Carolina. I also hope you get to spend time with your family and friends while enjoying the great outdoors of what Senator Chip Campsen often refers to as “Paradise” from the coast to Jocassee.

I want to thank you again for the opportunity to represent District 8 in the SC Senate. It is an honor and a privilege that I do not take lightly.

If there is anything I can do to help you navigate state government or if you just want to share your thoughts and concerns, please call my Columbia office at (803) 212-6148 and either I, or my assistant, Ja’Vell Bynoe, will be happy to help you.