SC property tax break fails to get final Senate OK

Plans to give a tax break to people with second homes, rental housing or commercial property failed Wednesday in the South Carolina Senate.

The measure needed a two-thirds vote and fell four votes short. Republican legislators tried to keep the door open to a vote later, but prospects weren’t good, Republican Sen. Thomas Alexander of Walhalla said.

“I don’t think there’s any hope for it be honest with you. I would be surprised if it comes back up any time soon,” said Alexander, who had worked out compromises on the bill. “While we were close, we weren’t able to get it across the finish line. … At this point it would take a miracle, in my opinion, to get it revived.”

The House had passed a version of the bill last year in an effort to breathe life into a stalled real estate market. While the recession has hurt, matters were made worse by a 2006 property tax law that triggers higher taxes when property sells and the tax rolls reflect rising values. [Read the full article]

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Illinois Democrats want to give Gov. Pat Quinn more time to assemble a state budget, and in return, they contend the public will have more of a say.

The Senate adopted a plan Wednesday delaying Quinn’s budget address by three weeks. But Quinn would have to post on the Web an accounting of expected revenue and expenditures two weeks before that.

That would give Illinois taxpayers a chance to comment and make suggestions, said Senate President John Cullerton, a Chicago Democrat.

State law requires the governor lay out by Feb. 17 his ideas for the budget year that begins July 1. The state is treading in red ink totaling $11 billion or more, and Quinn has wanted more time.

Cullerton’s legislation moves the speech back to March 10. But by Feb. 24, Quinn would have to list the money available and what dollars have already been spoken for, such as for paying off bonds or making the annual contribution to employee pensions. [Read the full article]

It’s a bipartisan jobs bill that would hand President Barack Obama a badly needed political victory and placate Republicans with tax cuts at the same time. But it has a problem: It won’t create many jobs.

Even the Obama administration acknowledges the legislation’s centerpiece — a tax cut for businesses that hire unemployed workers — would work only on the margins.

As for the bill’s effectiveness, tax experts and business leaders said companies are unlikely to hire workers just to receive a tax break. Before businesses start hiring, they need increased demand for their products, more work for their employees and more revenue to pay those workers.

“We’re skeptical that it’s going to be a big job creator,” said Bill Rys, tax counsel for the National Federation of Independent Business. [Read the full article]

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm will roll out her final budget plan Thursday amid a chorus of calls for more spending from some groups and lower taxes from others.

The Democratic governor hasn’t said if she’ll propose raising or shifting taxes as a way to deal with a deficit of at least $1.6 billion in the budget year that starts Oct. 1.

But it seems likely. Granholm has proposed saving about $450 million annually by trimming teacher and state worker benefits, cutting prison costs and requiring that some school services be privatized. But that still leaves a gaping hole.

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“It’s not an all-cuts budget,” Boyd said, noting the governor intends to protect spending on job creation, education and assistance for those in need. The plan also will address the structural deficit, she said.

Republican lawmakers have warned they’re unlikely to support any tax increases, making deep cuts likely if they get their way. [Read the full article]

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