To the Contrary

The new sprinkler bill

Despite weaknesses in a bill that would allow tax credits equal to half the cost of fire sprinkler installation in some buildings, the General Assembly should overturn Gov. Mark Sanford's veto when it convenes June 25. ...

Though weak, this bill beats the alternative. Sanford's veto message clearly indicates he would veto any bill offering a stronger state incentive. And the Legislature certainly didn't appear ready to offer a stronger incentive anyway. Although it would be preferable to have the Legislature address this issue and pass a stronger bill when it reconvenes in January, there's no guarantee that would happen.

Given that adverse environment, which offers little hope of a stronger bill, a veto override is in order, if only to preserve the strongest part of this legislation -- the prohibition on exorbitant connection fees for sprinkler systems.

Given the loss of life this state has experienced in the last four years in major fires, our lawmakers and governor should have been eager to enact a strong fire protection bill for South Carolinians. They've failed. But this bill is better than nothing, if only barely.

Lawmakers should overturn this veto, and our local governments should begin the work of creating this important, lifesaving incentive.

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