SC Senator: “It’s Not A Tax, It’s A Fee”

For years, U.S. President Barack Obama insisted his “individual mandate” for purchasing health insurance wasn’t a tax.  How come?  Because if the mandate was a tax, Obama would have (once again) broken his 2008 promise not to raise taxes on Americans making $250,000 or less. Of course when it came…

For years, U.S. President Barack Obama insisted his “individual mandate” for purchasing health insurance wasn’t a tax.  How come?  Because if the mandate was a tax, Obama would have (once again) broken his 2008 promise not to raise taxes on Americans making $250,000 or less.

Of course when it came time to determine the constitutionality of the mandate, Obama’s lawyers argued that it was … you guessed it … a tax.  And they won.

Similar semantics are now at work in South Carolina, where “Republican” lawmakers who just borrowed half a billion dollars for the state’s sprawling highway system are now looking to raise the state’s gas tax as a way of raising additional money.

Why do they need to do that? Well, they don’t … especially not when there are hundreds of millions of dollars laying around for totally unnecessary projects like this … or this.

Anyway, last month S.C. Sen. Ray Cleary (RINO-Georgetown) proposed a whopping 125 percent increase in the state’s gasoline tax – raising it from 16 to 36 cents over a ten year period beginning in 2015.

Of course to hear Cleary explain things, he’s not raising anybody’s taxes.


“We are not going to raise anybody one penny in taxes,” Cleary told The (Myrtle Beach, S.C.) Sun News. “There are no taxes in anything we are proposing, but there are fees. The difference between a fee and a tax … is that a fee is revenue generated for a specific purpose. If that purpose goes 100 percent to (the S.C. Department of Transportation) to fix their roads, then it is a fee. It is not a tax.”

Wow …

Potato, potato. Tomato, tomato.

Any way you say it, “Republicans” in South Carolina are proposing to take even more money out of your pocket and dump it into yet another failed, corrupt state-controlled system.

Later in the article Cleary adds that “we’re not going to fix the system totally, but if you push enough money into the system, you have less problems with it.”

Unbelievable …

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.

Despite this massive investment, the study found that in 2009 South Carolina ranked No. 48 nationally in terms of its fatality rate, No. 23 in terms of its percentage of structurally deficient bridges and No. 37 in urban interstate congestion.

But hey let’s just raise taxes … errr, sorry Sen. Cleary … “fees” and hope it gets better.

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William Christopher Swinney January 9, 2014 at 3:50 pm

C-A-S-I-N-O-S in Myrtle Beach.

Torch January 9, 2014 at 4:01 pm

And Columbia (be able to find a legislator) and Greenville (Baptist don’t recognize each other in a casino) and Rock Hill (get some of that Charlotte money).

Mike at the Beach January 10, 2014 at 1:40 am

Just pass it local option. Horry County can pass it. Greenville? The Bible thumpers would have aneurisms. Charleston? Who knows? The jobs and tax revenue would be more than state has seen in decades; hell, maybe ever. Regulate the shit out of it and it would be a gold mine.

nitrat January 10, 2014 at 6:57 am

C-A-S-I-N-O-S in Santee, almost right on the intersection of I-95 and I-26 really makes more sense.
Tunica on Lake Marion.

idiotwind January 9, 2014 at 4:12 pm

16 cents to 36 cents over 10 years. you’re kidding right?

nitrat January 10, 2014 at 6:58 am

20 cent increase total, 2 cents increase a year . How is too much?
I bet that doesn’t even keep up with inflation.
Or, do you think it’s too little?

Jesus H. Christ! January 9, 2014 at 4:25 pm

The gas tax should be raised in SC. I don’t want to pay more, but our roads suck.
That said, call a tax tax.

Scooter January 9, 2014 at 7:52 pm

Someone has to bite the bullet. This damn roads are awful.

jimlewisowb January 9, 2014 at 4:29 pm

“…push enough money into the system, you have less problems with it…”

Hey Cleary, when you pull that rubber off your peckerhead tonight to brush your teeth how about take your finger, no dummy that’s your thumb, cover it with toothpaste and write on the mirror your quote and underneath put in quotes “South Carolina Public Education”

Your fucking cockroach logic will not work for the Highway Department just like it does not work for Public Education

More money=More incompetence January 9, 2014 at 4:50 pm

Giving the SCDOT more money is like pouring gasoline on a raging fire.

Thomas January 10, 2014 at 1:37 am

Legalize and tax marijuana like Colorado and 5 state run casinos ought to push enough money into the system to bail-in the SCRS and build up our infrastructure.

wanabejedi January 10, 2014 at 8:50 am

why should the state run the casinos?
I guess the intentions of government are so pure that they dull the adverse effects of gambling? Remember, gambling is immoral unless the state chooses to run it

dm10ae January 10, 2014 at 3:36 am

Use money earmarked for roads for that purpose-SC politicians used 98 million dollars that was earmarked for roads and placed it in the general fund. SHIMS was a road maintenance and improvement system using 0.03 of the tax- introduced by the elder Sheheen not the one in office now. Why does Charleston need a $500,000,000 interchange for I526? or the I73 interchange in Myrtle Beach area – this whole thing is corruption-just like when South of the Border interchange was created at Dillon/I95. We need stewards of our money not spendthrifts as are in office now.

Right on! January 10, 2014 at 11:22 am


Why on God’s green earth would anyone dream of handing over more money for roads when the pols already use “road” money as a slush fund?

If just 1 honest pol(good luck with that) somehow was able to write in a stipulation that road funds only be used for *roads*(doesn’t that sound ridiculous?), then maybe they could sell me on a tax for such(after waiting a year or two to see what happens when they are able to use all the money that is supposed to be for them).

It’s amazing how many fools(as evidenced by this comment section) out there scream for more money for roads without even considering the fact that the money already delegated for them doesn’t make it to them to start.

Utter stupidity to claim we need more money for roads when the money is taken and used for other things.

nitrat January 10, 2014 at 6:49 am

Blame Grover. He’s the one who’s scared the pants off these idiots. He has made them violate their oaths of office every day by giving primary allegiance to his pledge and too scared to call a tax a tax.

fed up January 10, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Does anyone know how much is paid in a year in gas tax right now and where the money is being spent ? It sure is not being spent on roads.Gas tax is Gas tax for roads how can the politicians rob this money and use it for other things? But vote the crooks back in office and complain about the same things! WE need a audit of this money and where its at period! No more tax increase until someone shows where its being used now.

hollentour January 11, 2014 at 12:28 am

The last two audits show they waste millions and millions are unaccounted for. They never fix potholes, just patch them for a few weeks. How much does that cost, that twenty year pothole that has been in front of your house for as long as you can remember? Disband them, get rid of all those so-called engineers and put the paving out for bids. That’s what they do anyway. Since they claim they don’t have the money to fix our roads, why do they need so many employees and just what is it they do?

euwe max January 11, 2014 at 6:08 pm Reply

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