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Greenville Chamber policy agenda focuses on business climate, includes unfinished priorities

Krys Merryman //December 11, 2023//

Greenville Chamber policy agenda focuses on business climate, includes unfinished priorities

Krys Merryman //December 11, 2023//

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The Greenville Chamber’s 2024 policy agenda focuses on improving the city’s business climate, increasing educational attainment of the community, and boosting economic development.

The agenda outlines shared priorities of more than 8,000 businesses from the business community in Greenville County and across the Upstate, in conjunction with 13 chamber partners from the Upstate Chamber Coalition, according to a Greenville Chamber news release.

With focus on reforming what it considers an outdated civil justice system, which is costing the average South Carolina household $3,181 each year, the Chamber also is continuing its long-standing focus on making child care more accessible and affordable, increasing access to capital for small businesses and entrepreneurs, lessening the impact of the “benefits cliff” for blue-collar workers, and closing the state’s pension system, the release said.

The pension system is underfunded by $24 billion, said South Carolina Representative Jason Elliott at the Chamber’s Annual Legislative Breakfast on Friday.

“This is not an issue the general public typically sees (or is aware of),” he added.

There are also several items that reflect “unfinished business” from the previous session, including rethinking teacher recruitment and retention, reforming economic development incentives, licensure reform for immigrants who are allowed to work in the United States, and addressing a liquor liability issue to support the hospitality industry.

“It’s a problem we need to tackle, and we need to tackle it quickly,” said Elliott in response to liquor liability issue and high insurance premiums, which has been blamed for the shutdown of several local establishments.

“The backbone in South Carolina is still small businesses,” said South Carolina Rep. Mike Burns at the Legislative Breakfast. “(Government) regulations are hurting small businesses, and ultimately, it’s the customers who are footing the bill.”

Businesses continue to face significant challenges in accessing talent and workforce and many of these policies are designed as solutions to those pressing issues, the release said.

According to Greenville Chamber President and CEO Carlos Phillips, “We are honored to unify our Upstate business community around these key issues and to represent their collective interests at a local, state and federal level. In the year ahead, we urge our business community to engage with their elected officials and leverage the resources available through the chamber to drive policy solutions that build regional prosperity.”

The agenda was unveiled at the chamber’s annual Legislative Breakfast, the Chamber’s flagship legislative event. Nearly 200 local business and political leaders were in attendance to hear from the Greenville County Legislative Delegation and to encourage them to take up the community’s priorities.

All members of the Upstate Chamber Coalition are afforded the opportunity to shape the agenda, the release said. A fall survey followed more than two dozen agenda-setting meetings with industry groups, other Upstate chambers and business organizations, and the Chamber’s Business Advocacy committees.

To view the full 2024 Public Policy Agenda and Advocacy Guide, visit website here.