STATE SENATOR’S POSITION ON GAS TAX MISREPRESENTED …
An advocacy group looking to block a proposed increase in the gasoline tax badly misfired this week – calling out a State Senator who is actually committed to voting against the $1.8 billion tax hike.
The group – Americans for Prosperity – pushed out a January 2017 article that included quotes from S.C. Senator Katrina Shealy. The article, published in The Lexington Chronicle, gave readers the impression Shealy supported a stand-alone gas tax hike.
She doesn’t … certainly not the plan that cleared the S.C. House of Representatives earlier this month.
Nonetheless, AFP’s decision to push out the article resulted in several of Shealy’s constituents blasting her for a position she never took – and several State Senators being confused as to her intentions.
“I didn’t think that was right,” said S.C. Senator Tom Davis, who has successfully filibustered against a gas tax hike two years in a row. “Katrina has always had my back – and the taxpayers’ backs – during this debate and she made it clear to me this year nothing has changed.”
That’s true …
Shealy has always supported a gas tax increase on two conditions: 1) that the plan contain offsetting income tax relief, and 2) that it include long-overdue reform to the scandal-ravaged S.C. Department of Transportation (SCDOT).
Neither of those things were included in the House’s tax increase.
Accordingly, Shealy reaffirmed this week that she would not be voting for the tax hike – which in addition to draining $1.8 billion from the economy over its first five years would impose an annual tax increase of $532 million on dirt poor Palmetto State residents.
That’s simply unacceptable in a state where citizens already spend a disproportionate percentage of their incomes on fuel.
In addition to voting against the tax hike, Shealy also said she won’t vote to set it for “special order” – which would guarantee it a spot on the Senate’s crowded calendar.
Finally, Shealy told us she is once again supporting Davis’ filibuster – as she has done in each of the past two years.
“Offsetting tax relief and reform is what I’ve been saying all along,” Shealy told us. “I don’t know what’s so confusing about that? I know some people may not agree with me but I haven’t changed where I’m at on this issue.”
Shealy has represented S.C. Senate District 23 (map) since 2012 – when she defeated incumbent Jake Knotts as a petition candidate. She was reelected overwhelmingly in 2016 as a Republican.
To be clear: We appreciate AFP and its advocacy on this issue. In fact we helped promote their recent event at the S.C. State House – and provided coverage of it after the fact. We’ve also done our best to put in a good word for the organization as it attempts to rehabilitate itself with state lawmakers.
Having said that, the organization needs to choose its targets much more carefully next time.
This is no shortage of Republican Senators who support this tax hike (sadly). Katrina Shealy is not one of them, though.
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