A daily review of what’s making news in South Carolina state government.
— Staffers at South Carolina’s youth prisons agency were a bit more contrite in their first appearance before an investigative House committee since the agency’s director resigned. The State newspaper reports Department of Juvenile Justice Acting Director Freddie Pough asked a panel of House members to forgive him for his previous appearance before the panel, which were more defensive than he intended after an audit found serious issues with preparedness at the agency’s Broad River Road Complex prison outside Columbia.
— A proposal that could eventually raise South Carolina’s gas tax by 10 cents per gallon and increase various other vehicle fees cleared a House budget subcommittee unanimously on Tuesday. The Infrastructure and Economic Development Reform Act tries to raise roughly $600 million each year for new roadwork each year by gradually raising the gas tax by 2 cents per year for five years until it reaches 26 cents per-gallon. The measure will be taken up at the full House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday.
— Meanwhile, Gov. Henry McMaster reportedly told a closed-door House GOP luncheon that he would only support raising the gas tax as a “last resort,” according to several lawmakers present. Legislators are more optimistic that McMaster would ultimately support including tax increases in the final deal. That would be a stark contrast to his predecessor Nikki Haley, who repeatedly said she would not support the idea unless lawmakers included corresponding income tax cuts.