Bill lets homeowners rent, still pay lower rate

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina homeowners could rent out their homes for up to 100 days and still pay the lower, owner-occupied property tax rate under a measure advancing to the Senate floor.

Republican Sen. Raymond Cleary says the bill advanced Tuesday will help coastal homeowners facing high insurance bills. Cleary says homeowners are moving in with relatives and renting their homes over summer months to earn extra income to pay bills.

The bill allows them to rent from Memorial Day to Labor Day and keep the 4 percent rate, rather than pay the 6 percent rate for secondary homes.

Cleary says county tax assessors are applying the 15-day rule from another section of the law.

Minority Leader Nikki Setzler says he'll block the bill until he's assured it won't affect education money.

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