Amended SC bill on sales tax exemptions advanced

A pared-down bill eliminating less than one-third of South Carolina's sales tax exemptions is heading to the House floor.

The House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday approved a bill eliminating 22 exemptions, after putting about a dozen back on the exemption list. The bill initially eliminated exemptions worth more than $250 million. The amended bill reduces that to roughly $15 million.

Legislators say the amended bill may not be the reform many expected, but the purpose was to evaluate the hodge-podge of exemptions. They say the bill accomplishes that by making those affected by each exemption defend its purpose.

Items put back on the exemption list Wednesday include lottery tickets, gun sales during Thanksgiving weekend, and the penny sales tax discount for residents 85 and older.