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Gas Tax Hikes: A National View




Last week we reported exclusively on Republican lawmakers in South Carolina receiving pressure from their leaders to support a proposed gas tax hike.  Before that, we reported exclusively on the most powerful GOP lawmaker in the state shaking down crony capitalist special interests in support of this tax hike.

Fiscally liberal Republicans in the Palmetto State have been pulling out all the stops in their effort to ram this regressive tax hike through the legislature … even though the state has more than enough revenue to address its infrastructure needs.

As we’ve noted in our previous coverage, lawmakers have more than doubled the S.C. Department of Transportation (SCDOT)’s base budget over the last seven years.  On top of that, they’ve approved hundreds of millions of dollars in new (and likely unconstitutional) borrowing.

Has this mountain of money “fixed our roads?”  No.  Not even close.  Things are arguably worse than ever.

Lawmakers and their designates have not only failed to properly prioritize projects – they have failed to rein in rampant corruption and incompetence.

The result?  Drive down a South Carolina interstate or back road and see for yourself …

(Click to view)

(Via FITSNews)

It’s not pretty …

There’s a big story in The Wall Street Journal this week from reporter Cameron McWhirter on various state-level efforts to raise gas taxes – including proposed increases in Alaska, Indiana, New Jersey and Tennessee.

Of interest?  All but one of the current proposals are being pushed by Republicans, the so-called party of limited government.

Riffing off of the Journal article, our friends over at Zero Hedge note that in addition to these states, an estimated twenty states have raised or re-calibrated gas taxes in recent years – a “politically expedient way to raise taxes on the unsuspecting masses since when gas prices soar later those price increases can simply be blamed on those evil oil corporations.”

“Gas taxes are among the most regressive forms of tax as they disproportionately impact lower-income families,” the website added.  “And unfortunately, unlike the cost of other goods and services that are driven to artificially high levels by misinformed government policies (did someone say Obamacare?), we suspect you’ll never see the leftist states of America subsidizing gasoline for poor people.”

Amen …

Want to exacerbate the growing wealth gap in the United States?  Then by all means raise gas taxes.

As we’ve stated repeatedly, even if South Carolina did require a gas tax hike to fund its infrastructure needs, its dirt poor citizens simply cannot afford one.  They already pay a huge percentage of their income on fuel costs – and even a modest gas tax hike would stretch their budgets to the breaking point.

The S.C. House passed a gas tax increase in 2015, but the legislation was blocked in the S.C. State Senate that year – and again in 2016 – by a small band of fiscal conservatives led by filibustering S.C. Senator Tom Davis.

Davis (below) and other Senators have vowed to block the bill once again this year, while new S.C. governor Henry McMaster has said the gas tax should only be raised as a “last resort.”

Let’s hope Davis is successful in his efforts to block this regressive tax … and let’s hope state lawmakers finally decide to start prioritizing not only infrastructure projects, but the broader functions of government.

Cops, courts, roads and bridges?  Yes – absolutely.  Bloated and unaccountable higher education bureaucracies?  Hell no.

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