Who Runs South Carolina State Government?

POLITICIANS YOU DIDN’T VOTE FOR. THAT’S WHO. From education to road funding, from the judicial system to your electric bill, the important decisions are made by state lawmakers who represent only their districts. Most South Carolinians don’t vote for them – or even know their names. So when your power bill goes up again, or […]

How Can Citizens Get Answers on Roads?

THE SYSTEM MAKES IT DIFFICULT – BUT IT’S NOT IMPOSSIBLE South Carolina’s transportation system is not accountable to any one elected official, and that’s by design. Even so, after several years of pressure from citizens and some piecemeal changes to the law, there are ways for South Carolinians to engage with transportation policymakers. (1) Citizens […]

The Gas Tax Hike Passed. Now What?

IF YOU WANT TO HOLD TRANSPORTATION POLICYMAKERS ACCOUNTABLE, HERE’S HOW. After three years of effort, lawmakers raised the gas tax (and a host of related taxes and fees). In the process they slightly altered the structure of the Department of Transportation, but the changes don’t amount to the kind of restructuring that would ensure accountability: […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Why Revenue Won’t Solve S.C.’s Roads Problem

MORE MONEY HASN’T IMPROVED SOUTH CAROLINA’S ROAD SYSTEM – AND FOR A VERY GOOD REASON. If more money were the answer to the state’s infrastructure woes, the topic would hardly be worth debating. The real trouble with South Carolina’s roads, though, isn’t a lack of money. It’s a lack – indeed, a total lack – […]

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 […]