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Loan proposal touts energy efficiency

COLUMBIA --- South Carolina residents could make their homes more energy-efficient with no money down, while also paying lower electricity bills, under a loan proposal that cleared a legislative panel Tuesday.

The state's 20 electric cooperatives want to tie the cost of retrofitting homes to monthly utility bills.

Utilities would lend the money for updates such as new heating and cooling units and better insulation. Customers would repay the loan at a low interest rate, with payments built into their utility bills.

The monthly payment would be tied to the home, not the resident, so the responsibility would transfer to whoever lives there.

Senate OKs measure on property tax breaks

COLUMBIA --- People with second homes, rental property or commercial property will get a tax break under legislation that won key approval Tuesday in the Senate.

A voice vote approved a compromise that softens the tax bill for property an owner doesn't live in. Final approval today sends the measure to the House.

The legislation extends a break for owner-occupied homes transferred to family members. Now, transfers to anyone other than a spouse triggers a tax increase.

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