State lawmakers file bill for tax break on school security equipment

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) — Upstate lawmakers are backing a bill that, if passed, would make schools (public, private and charter), colleges and universities exempt from paying the six percent state sales tax when purchasing security and safety equipment.

House Bill 5068, which was filed last month, would allow for big savings in school budgets.

“In some of the budgets I’ve seen, it’s $1.6 million in sales tax that would have been spent in one year,” said Stacy Kuper, the regional sales manager and technology consultant at Encore Technology Group.

It would also give organizations like USC Upstate Police more purchasing power for new equipment.

“If it were to be passed, it certainly would make my job of outfitting the department a lot easier,” Assistant Chief of Police Dave Myers said. “I wouldn’t have to come up with nearly the [amount of] innovative ways to stretch money.”

Myers said the measure would allow Upstate Police to afford more security cameras for parking lots and outdoor spaces because less of the agency’s budget would get eaten away by the sales tax.

But beyond savings and purchasing, lawmakers told 7 News the legislation would afford students more peace of mind.

“We send our students to schools, public and private, all across South Carolina to learn. They can’t learn if they’re worried about their safety every day,” Jason Elliott, South Carolina District 22 representative, said.

The bill will now head to committee hearings. If passed, it would go into effect July 1 of 2020.

Elliott told 7News if H.5068 does not pass this session, it will likely be reintroduced next year.

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