Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Veto-proof S.C. House majority approves roads bill compromise with 12-cent gas tax increase

McMaster has vowed to veto any gas tax increase

Posted by Dustin Waters on Tue, May 9, 2017 at 4:09 PM

click to enlarge DUSTIN WATERS
  • Dustin Waters
With a vote of 99-20, members of the South Carolina House of Representatives approved a compromise that would raise state gas taxes in an effort to fund road improvements.

In a move than would increase the state gas tax by 12 cents over a six-year period, the tax hike is estimated to increase funding for infrastructure improvements by $600 million annually. It has been 30 years since South Carolina lawmakers have been successful in raising the gas tax, which is currently the second-lowest in the nation.

The House vote comes just one day after state senators approved the compromise. Gov. Henry McMaster has stood in opposition of raising South Carolina’s 16.75-cent gas tax, but both the state House and Senate appear to have enough votes to override a possible veto from the governor.

Earlier this year, the state Department of Transportation reported that more than half of roadway pavement in South Carolina is considered to be in poor condition and suggested that an increase in annual spending of around $500 million would be needed to bring roadways into good condition.

“Our members knew the General Assembly could send a long-term, sustainable solution to the governor if legislators put good public policy over petty politics. Although this conference report is not perfect, I could not be more proud of our members for responding to their constituents’ demands,” said House Speaker Jay Lucas. “Even though Gov. McMaster has issued a veto-threat, I encourage him to consider the magnitude of support behind this issue, change course, and immediately sign this roads bill into law.”

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