Encore Employee Leads Effort to Remove Sales Tax for School Security Purchases
To address growing concerns over physical security on school campuses across the country, educational institutions are turning to innovations in surveillance and access control to put both students and parents at ease. Many school budgets are already stretched thin, however, and locating the funding to purchase and implement these tools can be challenging. This is where Stacy Kuper—who serves as Encore’s regional sales manager and is also a Greenville county council candidate—is hoping to make a difference.
Alongside other local community leaders and South Carolina legislators, Stacy has been hard at work advocating for Bill H.5068, which if passed, would make security-related purchases free of state sales tax. The exemption applies to items such as medical response equipment, digital security, entryway control, and surveillance systems for all schools in the state, including private schools, charter schools, colleges, and universities. With SC districts setting aside millions each year to cover state sales tax, the savings could be funneled back into classrooms, possibly even being used to hire more teachers.
As regional sales manager for Encore, Stacy sees first-hand how South Carolina’s 6% sales tax is a barrier to security, particularly for smaller, rural districts. A mother of two herself, she believes that school administration should never have to choose between procuring educational resources for students and implementing security measures to ensure their safety, and that this piece of legislation gives districts the means to provide both comfortably.
Bill H.5068 has been over two years in the making; earlier efforts were broader in scope, aiming to make all school purchases tax-exempt, as South Carolina is one of five states that still requires schools and local government agencies to pay a state sales tax on their purchases. When results of an impact study associated with the initial bill came back inconclusive, Stacy Kuper regrouped with lawmakers to narrow their focus to one of their highest priorities for the law —making safety initiatives more affordable. Co-authored by representatives Jason Elliot and Mike Brynes, Bill H.5068 was introduced earlier this year and has garnered wide-spread support from legislators and community leaders alike, thanks in large part to Stacy’s work.
The bill is sponsored by seven members of Greenville’s legislative delegation and currently resides in the House Committee on Ways and Means. Though no voting date has been set, Stacy Kuper and others are confident it will pass, as SC Governor Henry McMaster has already expressed his support. If the bill is passed during session, tax exemption will be applied to security-related purchases starting July 1st.