Small businesses watch anxiously as SC Gov.'s budget veto deadline nears

by: Greg Suskin Updated:


COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley plans to meet with reporters Friday to talk about the parts of the state's budget she will veto.

The governor has until midnight Thursday to decide what she will do with the state's $23 billion budget.

A key element of that budget could give a boost to small businesses all over the state. State lawmakers passed a measure to lower the tax rate on small businesses from five to three percent.

For Richard Garnett, who owns Premiere Automotive in Rock Hill, it could make a difference.

"Every little bit helps. We could hire some more people, buy some new equipment maybe," Garnett said.  

Premiere Automotive added marine to its business name two years ago. The company started fixing boats and campers just to stay afloat during down economic times.

Garnett said customers are coming back.

"It's not where it used to be, but things are getting better these days," he said.

Across town at Wilson's Nursery, Yvonne Wilson is the third generation in her family's business. She said things are improving, but costs are high.

"Everything has gone up. Plastic has gone up, even soil has. Everything we do he has gone up," Wilson said.

When the economy started to tank, landscaping businesses nose-dived as new housing construction stopped. That took a chunk of Wilson's nursery business. 

She said a state tax break could go a long way.

"Any kind of tax break we get from the state would be a big help," she said.

Faced with unemployment that still rests near double digits, state lawmakers wanted to help make sure struggling small businesses could survive.

The tax cut will affect businesses that earn less than $100,000 a year in taxable income.

"It probably will impact about 80 percent of the businesses in Rock Hill," said state Rep. Gary Simrill.

Haley has touted small businesses in countless tours around the state. She is expected to let most of the key parts of the budget stand.