SC Gov. McMaster Vetoes Gas Tax, In Stark Contrast to TN Gov. Haslam, Who Championed It

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South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster posted a video “Gas Tax Veto” to his Facebook page, saying “Today I vetoed the General Assembly’s gas tax bill, and I would like to tell you why.”  He continued, “Unfortunately, raising taxes was the only solution seriously considered by the legislature.”

Quite a contrast to recent events in Tennessee, where Governor Haslam was the one who would only accept a gas tax increase to fund roads through his IMPROVE Act.  The Governor persisted in his “my way or the highway” solution to road funding, despite other alternatives being offered by some members of the House of Representatives, and nearly half of his own party at 35 of 37 Republican Representatives, voting against it.

Tennessee suffers from much the same problem as South Carolina, as stated by Governor McMaster, “Right now over one-fourth of your gas tax dollars are not used for road repairs.  They’re siphoned off for government agency overhead and programs that have nothing to do with roads.”

As previously reported by The Tennessee Star, some of the current road “user fees” are diverted from the Highway Fund, and the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) “overhead” has grown 63 percent under Governor Haslam from $78.9 million to $117 million.

Additionally, TDOT reported on March 6, 2017, to the Senate Transportation Committee, among other things, three noteworthy areas not directly tied to road projects:

  • Of 4,635 positions in the department, nearly a quarter at 1,100, remain unfilled.  Of those, 477 have been vacant since before January 2016.  Transportation Committee Chairman Paul Bailey (R-Sparta) said of the 477 vacant positions, “one could assume that that could equate to around $25 million.”  TDOT has been funded for those positions, though they remain unfilled.
  • A multi-modal access program was established with state money in 2013 in conjunction with recommendations by Metropolitan and Regional Planning Organizations.  The program provided $30 million of state funds over three years primarily for disconnected sidewalks adjacent to state highways, but was cancelled this year.
  • When resurfacing state roads within cities, TDOT receives requests and will accommodate a bicycle lane where it meets TDOT’s criteria for bicycles.  Last fiscal year, the state matched $900,000 to $4 million in federal aid to accommodate sidewalks, bicycle lanes and other modal impacts on the state highway network.

The full transcript of South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster’s “Gas Tax Veto” video can be found below.

Today I vetoed the General Assembly’s gas tax bill, and I would like to tell you why.

Right now, over one-fourth of your gas tax dollars are not used for road repairs. 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.

Unfortunately, raising taxes was the only solution seriously considered by the legislature.  Small businesses, young people, and seniors will get hit the hardest – many of them are barely making it now.  And the system remains dysfunctional.

South Carolina is a great place – and you deserve better than this. your tax dollars to be responsible and accountable, we’d have plenty of money – and this gas tax hike would be totally unnecessary.

Unfortunately, raising taxes was the only solution seriously considered by the legislature. Small businesses, young people, and seniors will get hit the hardest – many of them are barely making it now. And the system remains dysfunctional.

South Carolina is a great place – and you deserve better than this.

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2 Thoughts to “SC Gov. McMaster Vetoes Gas Tax, In Stark Contrast to TN Gov. Haslam, Who Championed It”

  1. Bob

    Governor Haslam has buried us in “free” college tuition and a huge tax increase. Governor, don’t let the door hit you on the way out. And don’t come back!

  2. […] thanks to increased taxes; while South Carolina’s governor just spared his constituency by vetoing a gas tax […]

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