Earlier today, we hosted the 2017 Legislative Luncheon at the Callawassie Island Club where we provided the opportunity for our members to connect with our elected officials and hear their plans for the 2017 General Assembly. In addition, we presented our 2017 Legislative Agenda.

Each year, the Chamber develops our legislative agenda through the help of our committees, Board of Directors, and through surveys of our membership.

We use four guiding principles when we consider taking positions on issues. They must:

  • Maintain and grow opportunities for Beaufort County businesses.
  • Reduce the cost of doing business.
  • Manage growth and support infrastructure improvements so that the marketability of the area is not threatened.
  • Increase the qualified workforce.

Based on your feedback for 2017, we’ll be focusing on seven areas of concern:

  • Port Development: Support the sale and redevelopment of the Port of Port Royal and the creation of the Jasper Ocean Terminal.
  • Economic Development: Support initiatives that help the region attract quality industry and jobs and to expand existing business. The Chamber advocates for streamlining the permitting process to reduce the costs of doing business and to eliminate uncertainty that stifles business growth and development. Support utility, internet and infrastructure improvements to ensure economic development sites are prepared for new business.
  • Military Advocacy: Expand the Tri-Command’s $1.498 billion economic impact by lobbying to maintain and grow our military installations and protect them from encroachment. The Military Enhancement Committee works closely with local, state and federal leaders to retain jobs associated with the region’s military installations, and works to support military families and improve their quality of life.
  • Tourism: Advance the growth of the $1.2 billion tourism industry. The Chamber supports dedicated funding for tourism destination marketing, as well as the Reconstruction Era Monument and heritage tourism initiatives in Beaufort County.
  • Education & Workforce Development: Support modifying the allocation formula for public education funding using criteria other than a school system’s ability to raise revenue through property tax to a system where all students receive equitable funding. Increase funding for higher education and work to align vocational training between our county’s public high schools and the Technical College of the Lowcountry. Support programs for transitioning military personnel to the local workforce and the expansion of public transportation in Beaufort County.
  • Natural Resources: Advocate for beach renourishment and recovery from Hurricane Matthew at Hunting Island State Park.
  • Roads & Infrastructure: Advocate for state-wide comprehensive Roads and Infrastructure Reform. South Carolina’s infrastructure is vital to the future of our economy and our quality of life. Modern infrastructure must be maintained for the region to compete effectively in the global marketplace.

As you can see, we have a full agenda for 2017 and we will need your help throughout Beaufort County, in Columbia and Washington, D.C. to accomplish these goals.

All The Best,

Blakely Williams

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