South Carolina Roads

House Gas Tax vs. Senate Gas Tax: A Comparison

LAWMAKERS HAVE TO COMBINE TWO BAD BILLS. THINGS COULD GET WORSE. The House and the Senate have both passed bills that contain significant tax increases, insignificant reform elements, and negligible transparency measures. What happens next? The legislation will go to a conference committee where three lawmakers from each chamber will attempt to reconcile them. In …

The Gas Tax Bill – A Guide for the Perplexed

● The Senate’s bill raises gas tax by 12 cents per gallon ● Includes large increases in array of fees ● Calls tax a ‘fee,’ allowing Infrastructure Bank to create more debt ● Includes convoluted tax ‘off-sets’ ● Includes no reform of DOT After much debate and maneuvering, the Senate finally passed its version of a …

Tightening (?) Income Disclosure Laws

LEGISLATION WOULD TIGHTEN SOME REQUIREMENTS FOR STATEMENTS OF ECONOMIC INTEREST — AND LOOSEN OTHERS Late in March, House Republicans, including Speaker Jay Lucas, sponsored a bill requiring increased disclosure on elected officials’ statements of economic interest. On its face, the legislation seems to tighten disclosure laws pretty significantly. The main items: (1) Officials would be …

Getting Rid of the DOT Commission?

BILL WOULD ELIMINATE THE COMMISSION THAT SHIELDS POLICYMAKERS FROM ACCOUNTABILITY There seems to be broad agreement (except, perhaps, among Statehouse legislative leaders) that the state’s road funding system needs structural overhaul. Structural reform at the DOT is no longer the foreign suggestion it was three or four years ago. H.3703 would restructure the agency, most notably …

Budget Growth Since 2007 – Fast and Furious

LAWMAKERS OVERSEE EXPLOSION IN FEDERAL FUNDS, FINES & FEES Each year during the budget debate, legislators talk about the responsible spending included in the budget. In this year’s debate, for instance, a House leader described the historically high budget as “reining in government spending.” But the numbers tell a different story. Since 2007, the total budget …

‘Small’ $497 Million Bond Bill to Hit Ways & Means

PAYING FOR ROUTINE RENOVATIONS WITH DEBT HAS BECOME A THING Update: The final version of the committee bill ended up being $497 million, nearly half of which is going to higher education. The amount appropriated to the DOT for rest area renovations is $16.2 million. Chairman Brian White stated that this appropriation will help ensure that …

Reforming the Judiciary in One Short Bill

A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO RESTORE THE BALANCE OF POWER The most frequent criticism made of South Carolina’s form of government – it’s also the most accurate one – is that the legislative branch dominates the other two branches. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the selection of judges: lawmakers pick them, pure and simple. …

UPDATE: Senate Gas Tax Plan

THIS ONE’S A STRAIGHT-UP TAX HIKE [Update: A quick side-by-side comparison of Senate and House bills is available here.] This morning the Senate Finance subcommittee took up H.3516, the gas tax hike legislation that passed the House last week. Sen. Vincent Sheheen proposed a strike-and-replace amendment, which was adopted as the “working document” with which …