Thursday, October 28, 2021

2021 Hometown Economic Development Grant Recipients Announced

Since the Municipal Association of SC board of directors first established the Hometown Economic Development Grants in 2016, the program has helped to fund numerous and diverse economic development projects all around the state — everything from the renovation of a historic Art Deco theater in Saluda to the development of the Interactive Art Park in West Columbia

A grant award to the City of Woodruff in 2020 contributed to the “Block 224” project, an effort to transform a dilapidated downtown building into a public space that connects downtown businesses with off-street parking. 

In Woodruff, the Block 224 project connected Main Street businesses with public parking behind their buildings and with the city’s refurbished McKinney Park. 

The Hometown Economic Development Grant program funds projects that will produce measurable results, can be maintained over time and illustrate innovative and sustainable practices that can be replicated in other cities. After applicants make submissions in September, an awards committee of former and current local government and state agency professionals evaluate the applications. 

Cities and towns receiving a grant must provide matching funds, with the amount based on their populations, submit reports about the progress and successes of each grant-funded project and provide financial details of how the grant funds were used. 

Here are the winners of the 2021 grant cycle: 

City of Beaufort 
South Coast Cyber Center 
Beaufort will repurpose a former school facility into the downtown headquarters for the South Coast Cyber Center, a world-class facility dedicated to cybersecurity, cyber defense education and innovation. 

City of Cayce 
Cayce River Arts District 
Cayce will infuse more public art into the Cayce River Arts District through everyday objects in order to continue the area’s redevelopment and growth. 

Town of Donalds 
Municipal and Historical Preservation Park 
Grant funds will help fully restore, renovate and optimize the building and parcel of the Donalds Grange No. 497, a historic property that is a part of the South Carolina Heritage Corridor and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

City of Georgetown 
Multi-Purpose Outdoor Marketplace and Park 
In partnership with multiple organizations, Georgetown will redevelop the empty downtown site of the former city hall into a multipurpose facility to host farmers markets, food trucks, holiday markets and a variety of other attractions. 

Town of Greeleyville 
Historic Downtown Streetscape Improvement Project 
The town will use grant funds as part of a Community Development Block Grant match to fund streetscape upgrades to the Greeleyville Town Centre. 

Town of Honea Path 
Main Street Facelift 
Honea Path will assist business owners ready to make positive changes to their facades in an effort to continue downtown revitalization efforts. 

Town of Moncks Corner 
Miracle League Field 
Building on the planning work it has pursued in recent years, Moncks Corner will use grant funds for construction of its Miracle League Field.

Town of Pacolet
Continuing the Pacolet Tradition 
The Pacolet Amphitheater grounds and infrastructure will be rehabilitated and upgraded to ensure its continued use as a traditional gathering place for town residents and community events. 

Town of Pelion 
Revitalization, Restoration and Reuse of the Former Pelion Train Warehouse 
Grant funds will restore Pelion’s former train warehouse into a museum and event space that will host meetings. 

Town of Society Hill 
1822 Library Historic Preservation 
In preparation for its bicentennial in 2022, Society Hill will conduct rehabilitation and preservation work on one of the oldest surviving public lending libraries in the state. 

Town of Seabrook Island 
Gateway and Wayfinding 
Helping visitors find their way to local attractions and businesses will become easier with Seabrook Island’s grant-funded project to install gateway and wayfinding signage. 

City of Westminster 
Gateway to Revitalization 
Westminster will enhance its Commercial Building Improvement Grant Program in an effort to include more downtown buildings in the city’s revitalization. 

The Municipal Association launched the Hometown Economic Development Grants in 2016 and have awarded grants each year since then. Learn more about the grants, and see the recipients of past cycles back to 2016.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

New ‘Gross Income’ Definition for Business Licensing

The SC Business License Tax Standardization Act of 2020, or Act 176, standardizes many aspects of local business license tax administration across the state, including the definition of “gross income.” Taxing jurisdictions use a business’s reported gross income as the base on which they calculate a business’ license tax. Before the new law, exactly what constituted gross income varied by jurisdiction, creating confusion among businesses and local governments. 

As of January 1, 2022, SC Code Section 6-1-400 (e)(1) will specifically define the term “gross income” for any city, town or county that levies a business license tax. For most businesses, gross income “means the gross receipts or gross revenue of a business, received or accrued, for one calendar or fiscal year collected or to be collected from business done within a taxing jurisdiction.” 

Definitions for most businesses
For a business located within a municipality, the license tax will be based on the entirety of its gross income, with the tax paid to the municipality in which it resides. The business may deduct from its gross income any income on which it pays a license tax to another jurisdiction. 

For a business not located within the city where it does business, the license tax will be based upon and paid only on the income it earns from work that takes place within that city. 

The law also allows businesses to deduct other types of funds from their reported gross income. Examples include “taxes collected for a governmental entity, escrow funds, or funds that are the property of a third party.” 

Businesses with unique definitions 
There are several industries in the state for whom longstanding definitions of “gross income” are unique and included within Act 176: 
  • Real estate agents and brokers have a unique definition of gross income. 
  • Insurance companies, manufacturers and telecommunications companies all have their own definition of gross income as well. 
These industries’ gross income definitions were previously found in various sections of state law and local ordinances. Act 176 consolidates them into one section of state law for easy reference. 

Verifying gross income 
Occasionally, a business’s reported gross income must be verified by a taxing jurisdiction. Perhaps the business’s gross income is higher than in previous years, or the business is not claiming all of the deductions allowed under the law. In those cases and others, Act 176 allows the city, town or county to inspect a business’s records to ensure the accuracy of its reported gross income. According to Act 176, taxing jurisdictions may review “returns and reports filed with the Internal Revenue Service, the South Carolina Department of Revenue, the South Carolina Department of Insurance, or other governmental agencies.” 

Learn more