The General Assembly in January will decide how to handle the recommendations of a panel of business and tax experts. Lawmakers and the governor appointed this commission to give their expert opinion on how to fix the state’s tax system. One of the recommendations to lower the state sales tax by one cent, and to raise the gas tax by five cents. Berkeley Senator Paul Campbell has been keeping an eye on the work of the SC Tax Realignment Commission (TRAC) work to change the fuel taxes for the state.
The TRAC offers two options: a flat cent tax or a “floating” tax rate that changes with the price of gas. Campbell says it all would go back to improving road conditions:
All the money goes to the (SC) Department of Transportation to repair our roads and upgrade our roads. So, it’s a trade-off a little bit there. People will save money because they won’t be stuck in traffic jams, they won’t be tearing their cars up on highways.
Campbell, a Senate Republican, does have mixed feelings about who pays the tax. He says, “I hate to put it on gasoline, because it hits everybody, but it also hits our visitors that come through our state. So, it hits the trucks that gives us the cost of our goods.”Campbell says he expects a lot of tourists that drive through South Carolina will stop to get gas, and the extra tax, means more money to the state. He also suggests:
We definitely need to fix our roads and we need to work on our Interstates to add that extra lane to try to take some of the load off of our people. We spend a lot of money on gasoline for our vehicles just sitting stopped, for no reason, when you have all that congestion. We would save enough money to probably pay the gasoline tax if we could keep moving.
The South Carolina Tax Realignment Commission was appointed by state government to study and make suggestions to improve a tax code that has been described as antiquated.