HOW WILL PRICE INCREASE IMPACT SCGOP PLAN TO RAISE GAS TAX?
“Republicans” looking to raise South Carolina’s gas tax love to throw out the talking point about the Palmetto State having the “cheapest gas in America.”
And the state’s left-leaning mainstream media loves to swallow that talking point … among others.
Well guess what … it’s true. But before you join “GOP” politicians and the liberal legacy press in embracing a gas tax hike, don’t forget that income levels in the Palmetto State are near the bottom of the national barrel – meaning our citizens pay a higher percentage of their “daily bread” for essential items like food, clothing, home heating and, yes … gasoline for our cars.
In fact, as of 2011 Palmetto State residents spend more of their income on fuel costs than residents of any other state (save Mississippi).
In other words that “cheap gas” is incredibly expensive to our dirt poor residents.
Gas in South Carolina averaged $3.24 per unleaded gallon in 2013 – down from $3.35 in 2012 (but up from 2010?s average of $2.60). Currently it stands at $3.14 (second-lowest nationally) – although it has been climbing since the beginning of the year.
“Republican” lawmakers – who just borrowed half a billion dollars for the state’s bloated highway system – are proposing a whopping 125 percent increase in the state’s gasoline tax, seeking to increase it from 16 to 36 cents over a ten year period beginning in 2015.
Is that necessary? No …
South Carolina administers the nation’s fourth-largest highway system – a whopping 41,613 miles of state-maintained roadways. That’s absolutely ridiculous for a state that ranks No. 40 nationally in terms of size (and No. 24 in terms of population), but it’s what happens when politics dictates the process.
As for funding, according to data compiled by the Reason Foundation, South Carolina ranked No. 2 in the nation in total taxpayer disbursements per mile in 2007. In 2008 and 2009 – the latest years for which data is available – the Palmetto State led the nation in tax money spent per mile of state-maintained roads.
What about bridges? Glad you asked … from 2007-09 South Carolina led the nation in taxpayer disbursements per mile of bridges.
While “Republicans” push for a gas tax hike one Democrat – S.C. Rep. Bakari Sellers (D-Bamberg) – has drawn a line in the sand.
“We don’t need a gas tax increase,” Sellers said earlier this month. “What we need is a serious plan to modernize and streamline our transportation delivery system – and a dedicated source of new revenue to meet prioritized needs, not political favors.
“It’s not lack of funding, or taxes that are too low that have caused our roads to fall in disrepair, it’s politicians who have their priorities out of whack,” he added. “And now, instead of solving the problem they want to place the burden of fixing our roads on individuals who can least afford it along with small businesses.”
Wow … and which party is fighting for taxpayers again?
There is no need to raise South Carolina’s gasoline tax. There is, however, a pressing need for our state’s leaders to stop pissing away money on non-essential pork barrel projects.