On July 31, District 85 Representative Chip Huggins and District 71 Representative Nathan Ballentine provided a wrap-up of this year’s legislative session. They described several budget items of the 6.7 billion dollar state government budget which have resulted from the state’s improved revenue position.
First is tax relief for small businesses, reducing tax rates from 5% to 3% over 3 years. The unemployment insurance loan that had to be obtained during the height of the recession will be repaid. Also, unemployment tax, which each employer must pay, will be reduced by 12%.
Three hundred million dollars will be used to create a Harbor Deeping Reserve Fund. Charleston harbor will be improved to accommodate the largest of the container vessels that will begin arriving from the soon-to-be-completed widening of the Panama Canal. This is important to support the ever-expanding manufacturing export base in South Carolina. Federal funding may be available for this project, but if not, this appropriation will be sufficient for completion.
State employees will receive a 3% pay raise, the first since the recent recession. An additional 2% has been approved for those Class One employees such as law enforcement and public safety. In addition, the state retirement system will be fully funded.
Chip was born in Columbia, S.C. He attended public schools and graduated from Columbia High School, where he lettered in varsity baseball and varsity football. He then attended the University of South Carolina and graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree from Winthrop University in 1987. Chip was a member of the S.A.E. Fraternity.
Chip is the Director of Business Development for Duraclean.
Chip serves on the Ways and Means Committee, Property Tax Subcommittee, and the Economic Development and Natural Resources Subcommittee in the House of Representatives.
Chip is married to the former Ginger Gilstrap and has two Children, Hiller Age 17 and Laine age 16.
Nathan Ballentine was born in Richland County and, for almost two decades, has chosen to work, live, and raise his family in our community. Nathan has worked for the same company since graduating from the University of South Carolina in December, 1992 and is currently Vice President and Branch Manager for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage here in Columbia.
He was elected to the House of Representatives in 2004. Nathan serves on the Agriculture and Natural Resources & Environmental Affairs committees.
Nathan and his wife Karen are actively involved in Riverland Hills Baptist Church; he has a step-daughter, Sarah Katherine (14), son Jonathan Carroll, Jr. (6), and daughter Emma Logan (5).