CITIZENS ARE WATCHING …
This week, South Carolina’s embattled Department of Transportation (SCDOT) commission will meet for the first time since the July 1 enactment of a gasoline tax hike – one we believe was unnecessary and unconstitutional.
This is the first meeting of the commission since its notoriously corrupt former leader Mike Wooten stepped down from his post – news of which was exclusively reported by this website.
Needless to say, there is much anticipation … both as to the planned appropriation of the proceeds of this new tax and when it comes to the ideological orientation of the commission, which has consistently failed to properly prioritize infrastructure resources.
Seriously … South Carolina has dramatically increased funding to roads and bridges, but the money has been badly misappropriated.
Taxpayer advocates are watching closely to see if anything changes …
In fact one group has launched a petition in an effort to hold commission members accountable. The group is also singling out fiscally liberal S.C. Senate president Hugh Leatherman – who led the legislative push to pass the tax increase and who wields considerable influence over the commission.
“Earlier this year, corrupt Senate leader Hugh Leatherman and his band of tax-hiking politicians and lobbyists said the money was going to ‘fix our roads,” the petition reads. “They lied and changed the law to funnel more money to Leatherman’s slush fund, a.k.a the State Infrastructure Bank (SIB), where they can pad their lobbyist buddy’s pockets and run up even more debt.”
(Click to view)
(Via Travis Bell Photography)
Is that true?
And is Leatherman corrupt?
Yes … indubitably.
The petition asks signers to “send your politicians a message that NO gas tax money should go to the SIB or to create more debt!”
We concur …
Lawmakers who pushed this tax increase promised its proceeds would got toward “fixing our roads.” They did not say anything about siphoning away money to support massive borrowing on non-essential projects – but that’s exactly what the language of their new law does.
As a result, Palmetto State taxpayers will continue to subsidize interchanges to nowhere, unnecessary big-ticket projects and political pork. And all of these projects will continue to drain hundreds of millions of dollars from critical infrastructure needs.
The only difference? The price tag for all this unnecessary spending will be higher …
Under the law passed by the “Republican-controlled” S.C. General Assembly, the state’s gas tax will climb from 16.75 cents per gallon to 28.75 cents per gallon over the next six years – among a host of other “revenue enhancements.” All told, the measure will drain roughly $1.8 billion from the economy over its first five years of implementation and around $600 million each (and every) year thereafter.
There are supposed to be $186 million worth of annual tax credits associated with the bill – but it’s not clear how those will be claimed (or whether they will be any help to the working poor).
Anyway … we support those seeking to hold the SCDOT and pro-gas tax politicians accountable for their decisions.
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