Tuesday, June 20, 2017

South Carolina Raises its Gas Tax

In South Carolina last month, the legislature overrode the governor's veto of a major increase in the gas tax. The current tax in 16.75 cents/gallon; under the new law the tax will raise 2 cents/gallon each year for the next six years, to a total for 28.75 cents. The money is all allocated to infrastructure spending, mainly major upgrades to existing highways and catching up on deferred highway maintenance. Sorry to be so far behind the news, but I just learned about this from a company-wide conference call in which our highway engineers in the southeast were excited about the business opportunity this presents; if this made any appearance in the national media, I missed it.

South Carolina is by some measures the most conservative state, with a rock-solid Republican majority. As in Kansas, it has turned out that cutting taxes and minimizing government have limits as a long-term strategy for running a state no matter how conservative the voters. As South Carolina's roads have deteriorated and its traffic has worsened, people have began to agitate, not for tax cuts, but for better service from the state government.

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