South Carolina lawmakers back to work in Columbia

The 2012 Legislative Session is underway in Columbia.

Thursday morning, many lawmakers attended a breakfast on the State House grounds hosted by the South Carolina Broadcasters Association.

Representative Terry Alexander, whose district includes parts of Florence and Marion Counties, says employment will be a big issue this session.

Alexander says, "Jobs is the issue. You put people back to work and people feel good about themselves and they feel good about their community, feel good about their country."

Overhauling the tax system is another priority of many legislators.

George Hearn represents Horry County. He says some tax exemptions need to be reconsidered so tax revenue can stabilize, so the state can have a good idea of how much money it will bring in each year.

He says, "You need a stable tax base. I think you're going to see some exemptions that are going to change. I think you're going to see the tax rates change."

Another big issue will be changing the state's retirement system. Right now more money is being paid out from the system than is going in to it.

Alan Clemmons, who represents Myrtle Beach, says changes are needed, "so that we can get a handle of the unfunded liability of our retirement system. That's probably one of the biggest things we'll be doing. I suspect that new hires will have a different scenario, a different formula in their retirement program than what are currently offered."

You can watch more lawmaker interviews this Sunday morning on Carolina This Week with Tim McGinnis at 9:00 on NewsChannel 15.