South Carolina roads legislature

Road Funding Bill – Most Confusing Tax Hike Ever?

  WEIRD PROCEDURAL MOVES, CONVOLUTED SHUFFLING OF TAXES AND FEES … WELCOME TO THE 2016 ROADS DEBATE The Senate Finance Committee is currently debating legislation that would raise taxes and fees, reduce other taxes and fees, and somehow send additional money to the Department of Transportation for road maintenance and repair. Here’s what you need to […]

Why the Gas Tax Is a Tax – Not a “Fee”

THE DISTINCTION IS VITAL, AND STATE LAWMAKERS ARE WRONG TO IGNORE IT A common mentality inside the South Carolina General Assembly holds that all private goods and services belong to government. We’re calling this a mentality, not a doctrine or an explicit belief, because lawmakers rarely if ever state it explicitly. But the mentality is […]

Gas Tax Plans: More of the Same

S.C. POLITICOS HAVE  PRODUCED AT LEAST FOUR MAJOR PLANS TO “FIX OUR ROADS.” NOT ONE OF THEM WILL ACCOMPLISH THAT GOAL. HERE’S WHY. How would a massive tax hike fix all our roads and bridges and cut our income taxes? It won’t. But that hasn’t stopped South Carolina politicians from pushing multiple versions of this […]

ANALYSIS: Senate Compromise on Road Funding

A COMPROMISE? SURE. A COMPILATION OF ALL THIS YEAR’S BAD IDEAS? THAT TOO. Last week, a majority of Senate Republicans produced a compromise on the subject of road funding. At this point, the legislation itself isn’t available to the public; we only have a press release. But if that release accurately reveals the plan’s details, the […]

How Does Road Money Get Spent?

WHERE DOES THE MONEY COME FROM? WHO SPENDS IT? WHO ARE THEY ACCOUNTABLE TO? The debate over road funding has seen a number of outrageous and contradictory claims. On the one hand, for example, we’re told that the Department of Transportation (DOT) faces a $43 billion shortfall; on the other that it’s a flawlessly run […]

FAST FACTS: A Tax Hike for Roads?

There has been endless talk about “road plans,” but in truth there is no plan to fix roads – the only debate in Columbia is over raising taxes. The promises of income tax cuts are empty. What’s worse, all the new money will go into the same system run by the same legislative leaders who […]

BILL ANALYSIS: House Roads Plan

• Bill raises taxes on gasoline and motor vehicle sales. • Enacts a roughly $360 million tax hike next year. • Allows Infrastructure Bank to fund more projects, not fewer. • Gives Infrastructure Bank $50 million more in annual funding. • Does nothing to alter the Bank’s emphasis on new construction. • Maintains legislature’s influence over DOT Commission.  […]

Fixing Our Roads: Real Answers, in Plain English

THROWING MORE AND MORE MONEY AT A BROKEN SYSTEM IS HOW WE WOUND UP WITH A DECREPIT ROAD SYSTEM IN THE FIRST PLACE. THE WAY FORWARD IS SOMETHING DIFFERENT. Over three years ago, our policy analysts began warning that, thanks to South Carolina’s convoluted government structure, road maintenance was being neglected throughout most of the […]

Why S.C. DOT Still Needs Reform – Badly

● The S.C. Department of Transportation is an unaccountable mess. ● Act 114, the 2007 “reform,” improved virtually nothing. ● What little Act 114 did improve may soon be repealed. Some lawmakers and Department of Transportation (DOT) leaders are fond of saying there’s no problem with management of DOT. There’s barely an ounce of waste […]

Senate Moving Ahead with Fee, Tax Hikes

● Numerous and complicated tax and fee hikes. ● Constitutional issue addressed – briefly. ● Bill to come up in full Senate next week. The Senate Finance Committee had a productive meeting on Wednesday, passing out a road funding bill to the full Senate. This may be good news for the committee, but it’s terrible news […]