Monday, April 25, 2011

From The House

For the first time in the nine years I have been your representative, we received less than 100 constituent contacts for the legislative week. I’m fairly certain this has to do with it being a holiday week in both the Christian and Jewish traditions. It is proper, in my view, that these special times be spent with family and loved ones and not so much in political and governmental pursuits.

For those following the golfing tradition, last week was also Heritage week. As always, it was a grand spectacle, with excellent play in a relaxed atmosphere. It is my hope that after such a well-executed event, the next title sponsor will finally step up and commit. In truth, your representative has been working the phones and making the case for the Heritage and the entire Lowcountry experience. We got an amazing amount of national exposure for our gorgeous South Carolina springtime, which I am positive will bring new businesses and new residents to share what we have been given in such abundance. In any case, I will continue to support the continuation of the Heritage by whatever means at my disposal. If we lose this treasure, it will not be for lack of effort.

Bill Wylie was a friend of mine, and a legislator who passed away suddenly last year. One of his last projects was a bill that would give certain investors a nice tax break for supporting job creation in our state. The bill he originally authored has been named the Bill Wylie Entrepreneurship Act of 2011. It passed the house and moves to the Senate Finance Committee this week. This is a particularly nice piece of legislation in that it rewards early investment or “angel” investment in small startup businesses that meet certain criteria. As much as we like BMW and Boeing, the bulk of the new jobs created in our state are going to be small and mid-sized outfits that often can live or die on a well-timed strategic investment. The Bill Wylie Entrepreneurship Act of 2011 encourages that investment.

Incidentally, there is a new company headquartered in old town Bluffton called BottlesUp, which might be a beneficiary of the Bill Wylie legislation, if it passes this session. BottlesUp is the creation of local glass artist Laurel Herter. They are designer water bottles made from recycled glass with silicone rings and lids. They were introduced two weeks ago at the Chicago Home Show to rave reviews and several hundred wholesale orders. Locally, they can be found at Jacob Preston Pottery and Outside Palmetto Bluff. It’s always good to support homegrown products and homegrown jobs.

Continuing in the glass vein, the South Carolina Incandescent Light Bulb Freedom Act, or H.3735, was given second reading in the house. Simply put, we just don’t want the federal government regulating what we can and cannot do with light bulbs. This may seem like something of a symbolic issue, but there are folks who just don’t care for the illumination cast by the newer compact fluorescent bulbs, and they feel, justifiably, that the feds are once again overreaching.

I’ll have more to say on both the Point of Sale legislation and the Amazon Sales Tax conundrum in a future column. The former is hotly controversial and the latter is kind of awkward for Amazon supporters who seem to want to have it both ways when it comes to local legislation. No one ever said that making the sausage is pretty.