S. 54 – Senate Gas Tax
S. 54 increases the existing 16 cent per gallon gas by 4 cents every year from 2017 through 2019, nearly doubling the current gasoline tax. The bill would also allow the Department of Revenue to increase the tax with an inflation. This additional increase would be capped at 2 cents per year and may only be imposed if general funds are projected to increase by 1 percent.
The bill goes on to increase fees, on commercial vehicles, doubles driver’s license fees, increases the fees for registration of vehicles, and doubles the maximum tax allowed on certain types of vehicles.
In addition, S. 54 makes changes to the income tax structure in the state, by changing the formula by which income tax is assessed, provided that certain revenue projections are met.
54 also provides additional tax credits for students at 4 year universities.
Article 3, Section 15 of the South Carolina Constitution requires that legislation which raises revenue must originate in the House of Representatives, which this bill does not. Equally troubling is the many different subjects addressed by this under the general auspices of transportation funding.
At its core, this bill does not address the key problem infrastructure faces in South Carolina – accountability.