COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The House budget plan allows South Carolina's towns and counties to continue charging taxpayers a processing fee for credit card payments, but they'll pay a steep price if they try to profit from the fees,
GOP Rep. Jim Merrill and Democratic Rep. Leon Stavrinakis fought to ban the practice altogether, saying people who choose to pay with plastic shouldn't be hit with an extra fee.
The House rejected that proposal after members argued it would cut into their local governments' tax collections. They contend the fee covers only what local governments pay vendors for offering the convenience.
The House then approved an amendment Stavrinakis argued was needed for accountability, so local governments don't charge taxpayers more than it costs them. If they do, they can be fined $1,000 per violation.
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