House, Senate override McMaster’s veto, gas tax going up 12-cents a gallon, beginning July 1

SCDOT applauds tax

S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster has stood almost alone in opposition to a tax that will increase the price of gas by 12-cents a gallon.

Gov. Henry McMaster in his YouTube address decrying the tax hike.

The bill that raises the gas tax by 2-cents-a-gallon for the next six years, also increases other driver and vehicle fees. The gas tax increase will take effect July 1, The tax hike is projected to eventually generate $630 million annually to go to the S.C. Department of Transportation’s budget.

McMaster said, after vetoing the tax, that existing gas tax money is being diverted from roads, to other government spending. He also implied money allocated for roads is not managed to fill needs. McMaster said reform is needed.

“Right now, over one-fourth of your gas tax dollars are not used for road repairs,” McMaster said. “They’re siphoned off for government agency overhead and programs that have nothing to do with roads. Then, much of what’s left is spent on the wrong roads – roads with almost no traffic.

“If we would simply reform how DOT spends your tax dollars to be responsible and accountable, we’d have plenty of money, and this gas tax hike would be totally unnecessary.”

McMaster said small business, young people and seniors, groups that are already struggling, would be hurt most by the tax.

The S.C. House voted 95-18, to override McMaster’s veto after S.C. House Speaker Jay Lucas, R-Darlington and several other House members attacked McMaster.

“He chose to listen, I believe, to campaign consultants, rather than the people of the great state of South Carolina,” Lucas said.
He also said McMaster has “chosen to place politics over policy.”

Big business, including the S.C. Chamber of Commerce, has been an advocate of the tax hike. But a poll taken in March showed that a vast majority is opposed to it.  Link to poll showing opposition to gas tax

The S.C. Senate passed the bill on Wednesday by a vote of 32 to 12.

S.C. Secretary of Transportation Christy Hall released a statement following the passage of the tax hike.
We applaud the General Assembly for their leadership and dedication to  addressing the infrastructure crisis in South Carolina.”
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