For the third year in a row, the gas tax in South Carolina climbed by two cents per gallon on July 1 – the first day of state government’s 2019-2020 fiscal year.
Filling up your gas tank in the Palmetto State will now cost you 22.75 cents per gallon. The tax will eventually climb to 28.75 cents per gallon– an increase of 71.6 percent from where it was before the new law took effect. All told, the measure is draining $1.8 billion from taxpayers over the course of its six-year implementation (we are now in year three) and will deprive them of another $600 million annually thereafter.
An estimated $700 million has been collected from the tax so far … although there is growing concern over the appropriation of this money (or lack thereof).
Approved by the Republican-controlled S.C. General Assembly in 2017, the gas tax hike was billed as a panacea for the Palmetto State’s deteriorating network of roads and bridges.
It has not lived up to the hype, though … as we predicted.
Also worth remembering? The 2017 tax hike came on the heels of a massive borrowing bill for infrastructure in 2016 and billions of dollars in new budget appropriations for the scandal-scarred S.C. Department of Transportation (SCDOT) – which saw its base budget more than double over the six years leading up to the gas tax hike.
Sadly, this lack of prioritization persists …
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“This beleaguered bureaucracy continues to allow political considerations, not infrastructure priorities, to dominate its decision-making process,” we noted in a post back in January.
And the cost of this failure to prioritize is becoming not only self-evident … but downright embarrassing.
Not only did this news site steadfastly oppose the 2017 gas tax increase, our founding editor Will Folks filed a lawsuit arguing it was unconstitutional. You can read all about our legal beef here, but our ideological objection to this law is far more important: The tax is regressive. Dirt poor South Carolinians are already spending more of their income on fuel than residents of any other state save Mississippi or West Virginia.
Do we really want to make them pay millions more on a system that resists reform at every turn?
Roads and bridges are obviously a core function of government, but pumping more money into a demonstrably failed system is only going to do one thing: Increase the cost of failure.
South Carolina cannot afford that …
WANNA SOUND OFF?
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