Wrap-Up of the 2017 Legislative Session

WHAT PASSED, WHAT DIDN’T, WHAT’S STILL TO COME On May 11, the legislative session ended for this year. Lawmakers will return next week to finish and pass the budget and vote on gubernatorial vetoes, but legislators are otherwise finished. Below is an overview of the important bills from the 2017 session. Some passed, some didn’t, […]

The Gas Tax, the Infrastructure Bank, and Lawmakers’ Word Games

• Legislature began diverting fees to Infrastructure Bank in 2005 • Diversion of Funds meant to circumvent state constitution • In 2003 lawmakers changed the name of the gas tax to a ‘fee’ • After credit downgrade, legislature continued to divert funds to STIB (The following provides historical background for this analysis of H.3516, the gas […]

Gas Tax Bill a Windfall for Infrastructure Bank

PROPONENTS CLAIM THE BILL WOULD FIX SOUTH CAROLINA’S ROADS. THAT’S NOT WHAT THE BILL SAYS. [NB: The bill discussed in this report is now law, the state senate having overridden the governor’s veto.] The legislature is poised raise the gas tax, along with sales tax on vehicles and several registration fees. Proponents claim the 72 […]

‘Reform’ to State Pension System Now the Law

SOUTH CAROLINA’S ‘PENSION DEFICIT DISORDER’ HASN’T BEEN SOLVED On April 25, Gov. Henry McMaster signed a bill intended to reform South Carolina’s pension system. The bill, now a law, raises more money for the system but doesn’t so much reform the system as put more money into it and mostly leave it alone. Here are […]

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 […]

Project Income Disclosure South Carolina

Project Income Disclosure 2017

WHY DISCLOSURE MATTERS – AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT In 2008, the Policy Council published a report recommending the mandatory disclosure of all income sources for elected officials. South Carolina had arguably the most lax disclosure laws in the country; indeed there was virtually no requirement at all for officials to reveal anything […]

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South Carolina roads legislature

Roads: What Reform Is – and Isn’t

THREE STEPS TO FIXING SOUTH CAROLINA’S ROADS – AND NONE OF THEM INVOLVES RAISING TAXES ON A POOR AND OVERTAXED POPULATION One thing has become increasingly evident in the debate over the gas tax: lawmakers have no real solution to South Carolina’s infrastructure problems. Their only solution is raising taxes. But lawmakers haven’t shown, or even tried to […]

Where Does the Gas Tax Really Go?

  IF LAWMAKERS WANT TO SEND MORE OF THE GAS TAX TO ROADS, THEY’RE FREE TO DO IT. SO WHY DON’T THEY? When the gas tax hike bill (H.3516) was going through the House, House leadership circulated a flyer (click here) purporting to show how revenue from the gas tax is currently spent. Of the 16.75 cent […]

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 […]