SC Legislature ends with complaints of stimulus rift

Thursday, May 21, 2009 9:30 PM
Last updated 10:11 PM
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COLUMBIA — South Carolina legislators wrapped up their regular session tonight by approving restrictions on the payday lending industry that will limit the number of loans to one at a time and track customers who incur them.

Legislators called it the most significant legislation passed in a session overshadowed by feuding between lawmakers and Gov. Mark Sanford over federal stimulus money. Many pointed to the unchanged, 7-cent per pack cigarette tax as their biggest disappointment among the bills left undone as they head home.

"We remain the lowest in the nation in a year we're scrambling to fund essential services," said Sen. Joel Lourie, D-Columbia. "I had really hoped this would be the year."

The stimulus fight "sucked all the energy out of the legislative process," said House Minority Leader Harry Ott, D-St. Matthews. "The victims are the citizens of South Carolina."

Lawmakers did approve one stimulus-related measure at the last minute. School districts would be able to apply for some of $160 million in interest-free construction bonds in each of two years. A federal provision automatically qualifies Charleston County for $13.5 million and Greenville County for $15 million. The remaining 83 districts can split $131 million, with 60 percent of that specifically for rural schools.

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patriciathomas 05/21/09 - 10:40 pm
The Dems protected the

The Dems protected the tobacco companies again. Of course, this kept extra money in the politicians pockets during these hard times and left an obvious tax resource untapped. Think of all the extra subsidy programs we could have had.

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