Both sides of raising the gas tax were at the Statehouse Tuesday making their pitches to lawmakers.
South Carolina Chamber of Commerce President Ted Pitts said that his organization is pushing the proposal that would raise the gas tax and use the money to fix South Carolina’s roads and that a continues lack of action costs the state’s drivers. “A lot of the debate will occur about charging South Carolinians more for fixing our roads. When really the dialogue needs to be about how much it’s costing South Carolinians to do nothing,” Pitts said.
Before the state hikes the gas tax, Daniel Brennan of the group Americans for Prosperity – South Carolina said that there needs to be other things done, as well. He argued that, because of a lack of accountability in laws, the state Transportation Commission has a track record of prioritizing legislators’ requests rather than statewide needs. “The commission has to go. The legislative dominance of the DOT and the politics behind road funding are not good for the state,” he said.
Pitts said it’s time to finally act on actually doing something to fix the state’s roads. “We can’t continue to have a situation in South Carolina where our road issues are not addressed. And we’re encouraged, we believe 2017 is the year that this gets done,” Pitts said.
“We’re opposed to the gas tax if the bill does not include DOT reform and it does not include revenue neutral income tax reform for the citizens of South Carolina,” said Brennan.
The Senate’s proposal would raise the gas tax by 12 cents over the next six years, gradually increasing it by two cents a year. The House’s plan would increase the tax 10 cents over five years raising it two cents a year.
The House has passed their version. The full Senate has yet to vote on their proposed bill.