South Carolina Governor Nixes Sprinkler Bill

June 13, 2008

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford vetoed a proposal that would have given tax breaks for installing fire sprinklers — a measure approved after a Charleston furniture store blaze that killed nine firefighters in 2007.

The Republican governor said in a veto message June 11 the incentives amounted to a 50 percent taxpayer subsidy. He argues that subsidies like that undermine market competition.

Supporters say sprinklers substantially cut fire deaths and property damage.

The legislation left it up to local governments to decide if they would offer property tax breaks of up to 25 percent of a sprinkler system’s cost where they aren’t required by law or code. The break would be matched with a state income tax credit.

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