A conservative group is offering to pay all fuel taxes for drivers at one Lexington gas station Wednesday, to show their opposition to a proposed increase currently being debated in the South Carolina Statehouse.
Americans for Prosperity-South Carolina (AFP-South Carolina) will be at the station on Wednesday morning, paying the 45-cents per gallon in total gas taxes for commuters in order to show how much the gas tax currently costs drivers in the state. AFP- South Carolina is a conservative leaning group that promotes itself as pushing free market principles.
“We want to make sure we have a very heated debate in the General Assembly this year about gas tax hike, and we want to give folks the facts on the ground about what’s going on in their government,” AFP-South Carolina State Director Dave Schwartz told South Carolina Radio Network.
The event will take place at 7 a.m at the Exxon Gas Station at 711 West Main Street. AFP-South Carolina will cover the state and federal gas tax as well as the proposed ten-cent hike, a total of 45 cents, for the first 2,000 gallons of gas purchased.
The stunt comes as state senators are considering a bill which seeks to raise an additional $800 million for road and bridge repairs through a 12-cent per-gallon increase in the state’s gasoline tax and by increasing various license and registration fees for vehicles. Conservative lawmakers are holding up the bill, however, saying they will not allow a tax increase without reforms in how the money is spent. South Carolina’s current state tax of 26 cents per-gallon is the country’s lowest. The state Department of Transportation has previously said it needs an additional $1.5 billion each year just to get South Carolina roads to “good condition” by 2030.
Schwartz said AFP-South Carolina wants to warn others of the potential repercussions of any bill that calls for a raise in gas taxes. “If they pass the gas tax hike our taxes will go higher, it will cost more to fill up at the pump, and our roads just won’t get fixed…politicians at the Statehouse just want more and more money to go into the same transportation system that allowed our roads to crumble in the first place,” said Schwartz.
“What we would like to see is true reform, making sure that the Department of Transportation is accountable to taxpayers so that they’re more efficient and they actually get on a path to fix our roads and prioritize the funding that we already send them,” said Schwartz.
AFP-SC held a similar promotion at gas stations across South Carolina last year in response to the bill. Senators hope to take up the bill and end a filibuster within the next two months.
Kimberly Washington contributed to this report