S.C. sprinkler bill is now law

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Friday, August 1, 2008

COLUMBIA, S.C.--A bill that provides tax incentives to homes and businesses that install sprinkler systems became law on June 26 when the South Carolina Legislature voted unanimously to override Gov. Mark Sanford’s June 11 veto of the bill.

“Participants who put sprinklers in residential or commercial buildings [where they are not required by law] are eligible for a 25 percent tax break from the local government and eligible to get 25 percent of the cost of the system back from the state of South Carolina,” said John Reich, South Carolina fire marshal.

“Any time you can save 50 percent on a sprinkler system that’s good,” he added.

The bill also restricts water purveyors from imposing “unreasonable rates on tap fees and standby fees and it also prohibits the county from assessing the non-required system.”

That means that if a business spends $50,000 putting in a sprinkler system, the local government can’t raise your tax assessment. “Any improvements can not be held against you,” Reich said.

Reich said the long legislative process was beneficial because it educated people about sprinklers.