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Another South Carolina Small Business Bites The Dust

Out-of-control liability laws claim another victim …

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While South Carolina’s “Republican” lawmakers blow billions of dollars on their badly broken government – and all manner of political pork – they continue shortchanging the citizens and small businesses which keep the Palmetto State’s economy going.

It’s a priority problem … and it’s growing more pronounced by the day.

Exhibit A: South Carolina’s worsening venue crisis, which is another shameful consequence of powerful lawyer-legislators controlling our court system. Soaring liability costs are killing small, independently owned mom and pop businesses – especially bars and restaurants which serve alcohol.

The problem? Broken tort laws …

In the Palmetto State, businesses can be forced to pay 100 percent of a verdict even if they are determined to be only one percent liable for the accident from whence the judgment sprung.

“Small businesses across the state are being forced to shutter their doors and close their businesses due to exorbitant insurance rates caused by the state’s joint and several liability laws,” a coalition of small business owners wrote earlier this month in a letter to state leaders.

They aren’t being hyperbolic, either, as just this week there was yet another small business casualty.

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“This is a post we have been dreading for quite some time now,” the owner of Palmetto Brothers Dispensary wrote on the business’ Facebook page. “June 22nd will be the last time you will be able to purchase your favorite beer and wine at Palmetto Brothers Dispensary.”

Based in downtown Laurens, S.C. – a city which needs as much homegrown economic development as it can muster – Palmetto Brothers made no bones about why it was being forced to shut down its primary revenue driver.

“While operating costs have increased across the board, the major contributing factor in stepping away at this time is the dramatic increase in the cost of liquor liability insurance,” owner Wes Meetze continued. “Our rates have gone up 325 percent since we opened our doors three years ago. We were holding out hope for a legislative fix this session, but that seems more and more unlikely by the day.”

According to Meetze, his company is “still shopping for an affordable liquor liability insurance option” – one which would enable it to transfer beer and wine operations to a different location.

“We aren’t giving up on that dream,” he wrote, although he added the future of his business was “uncertain at best.”

As previously reported, legislation introduced this year (S. 533) could have fixed this problem – but so-called “conservative” GOP leaders were too busy blowing every penny of new money coming into Columbia (while refusing to give back a $1.8 billion surplus they recently uncovered) to pass the bill.

Count on this media outlet to continue standing for the small businesses across the state which have been unfairly disadvantaged by the perpetual “priority problem” of the GOP supermajority S.C. General Assembly.

And to continue calling out the status quo uniparty …

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

(Travis Bell Photography)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina and before that he was a bass guitarist and dive bar bouncer. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and eight children.

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5 comments

JustSomeGuy Top fan June 11, 2024 at 8:25 am

The closing of Palmetto Brothers will have a rippling effect in downtown Laurens. In addition to the direct service they offer, they are the biggest advocates for the other small businesses located on the county square. They’ve sponsored outdoor music events that bring out pedestrian traffic. This is a major blow to a town that has finally seen some momentum following decades of decline.

Reply
Teresa Whetzel Top fan June 11, 2024 at 10:59 am

And starting today these representatives of SC can be voted out????

Reply
CongareeCatfish Top fan June 11, 2024 at 11:23 am

The “perverse false dichotomy”….a GOP legislator-lawyer who lives on tort claim insurance payouts while proclaiming to be conservative and pro-business. At least the Democrats like Harpootlian aren’t hypocrites on this issue… they declare what they are for the world to see…they basically wear their anti-business patch on their sleeve and swagger around bragging about all the insurance cash they rake in suing businesses in hellhole venues. The joint & several liability rule of SC has been plainly known for 30+ years to be harmful to businesses of all types when an idiot harms someone else and the business is merely 1% at fault….this is ONLY a matter of political willpower and therefore the demonstration of power of the clout of the SC Trial Attorneys’ Association a.k.a “SC Association of Justice” [barf] in the Legislature- greater than BMW, Boeing, Volvo, Michelin, and all the other Fortune 500 companies that have come here, as well as the “zip code” of all of their subcontractors and suppliers who have set up shop here. THAT is true power.

Reply
B B BROCKMAN Top fan June 11, 2024 at 3:21 pm

I disagree, Hartpootlian is a hypocrite on EVERYTHING and also a Left Wing, Liberal, Woke democrat (American Communist Party) member. There is nothing this lying politician has ever done for South Carolinians except Lawyers.

Reply
B B BROCKMAN Top fan June 11, 2024 at 3:21 pm

I disagree, Hartpootlian is a hypocrite on EVERYTHING and also a Left Wing, Liberal, Woke democrat (American Communist Party) member. There is nothing this lying politician has ever done for South Carolinians except Lawyers.

Reply

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