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Rep. Justin Bamberg, D-Bamberg, says he’s again seeking state income tax breaks to help attract professionals to live and work in designated rural counties.

He’s introduced the Rural Revitalization Act. If it becomes law, qualifying individuals would be eligible to deduct all income attributable to the taxpayer’s qualifying employment.

To qualify, an individual must reside and be employed in a designated county as a teacher in a K-12 school; an attorney in a circuit solicitor's office, circuit public defender's office or neighborhood legal assistance program; or, a health care professional.

Additionally, an individual who has been honorably discharged from the Armed Forces of the United States may also claim the deduction.

This bill would apply to all "Tier IV" counties, which is the designation in the state tax code given to counties with relatively high unemployment rates and low per capita income levels.

Qualifying rural counties are Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Chester, Clarendon, Dillon, Hampton, Lee, Marion, Marlboro, Orangeburg and Williamsburg.

Bamberg said, "Sometimes all you need is a spark to get a fire going. The Rural Revitalization Act is aimed at putting new energy into our rural, shrinking and economically depressed counties.

“It will encourage people to come back home and fill in certain gaps we presently have. Under the RRA, certain individuals who reside and work in South Carolina's Tier IV counties -- identified as economically distressed -- will receive a full state income tax deduction for the first five years living and working in those counties."

He continued, "I believe RRA will help entice the state's young professionals and second-career citizens to remain, return and invest in the communities and counties that desperately need investment.

“The act serves as a tangible way for the state to say 'thank you' to our professionals that work in rural counties, and sends the message that because of your investment in our state, South Carolina will invest in you."

The Rural Revitalization Act, H. 3782, was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee.

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