Legislature overrides governor's road-funding bill veto

Olive Rios
May 13, 2017

Senators have approved a road-funding compromise that would eventually raise the state's gas tax by 12 cents but allow SC drivers to get the money back.

The law will raise the gas tax by 12 cents per gallon over six years, to 28.75 cents, though a provision allows SC drivers who itemize their taxes to recoup their extra costs during the phase-in.

The 99-20 vote Tuesday sends the bill to Gov. Henry McMaster, who promises to veto it.

"I believe he chose to listen to campaign consultants instead of the people of South Carolina", Rep. Lucas, R-Hartsville, said in a speech on the chamber floor. "Moreover, the income tax breaks in this bill, if utilized, are grossly insufficient to offset the massive liability our citizens will shoulder in the coming years".

But an override is expected. The House earlier this year approved increasing the gas tax by a supermajority vote, 97-18. "I look at the roadways today; they're really an embarrassment and a major safety concern".

"It should be a real, meaningful difference in the lives of SC drivers over the next 10 years", said state Sen.

The tax hike now goes into effect June 1. Previous proposals have been blocked in the Senate.

"There are limits to what we can ask from the people of SC", he said. "I'm glad it's finally come to nearly fruition". But even if all of the agency's employees worked for free, their salaries would pave just 2 percent more of the roadways annually, DOT Director Christy Hall has said.

It would also increase and create other fees, to collectively pump an additional $177 million into roadwork next fiscal year. "They stood in the way of improving our roads and we were ready to move on down the road in helping the people of SC".

The compromise reduced the tax cut provisions in the Senate plan.

-An income tax credit for married couples filing jointly will rise from the current cap of $210 to $350 over six years. Overcoming the governor's veto to finally pass this essential bill was the high point of the legislative session.

The Republican-controlled Legislature hasn't increased any tax since 2010, when it overrode then-Gov. The first change to that tax in 33 years took a decade of debate.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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