Gas tax hike to fix roads supported by SC Chamber of Commerce

PICKENS COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce is asking lawmakers to get rid of a gas tax exemption to repair roads.

In a press release, the Chamber says they consistently call for a sustainable, long-term solution to fix roads and bridges to help local business and attract new business. They also want to do that by raising the sales tax exemption cap on vehicles.

Lawmakers say South Carolina has the second lowest gas tax in the nation. Right now, the tax on a gallon of gas is 16 cents. The new general assembly is expected to debate an increase to raise it by another 12 cents.

Former senator Larry Martin supports the tax hike and says what the state did last year wasn’t ideal.

“It wasn’t sustainable. What we did last year was take about 200 million dollars a year out of the general fund, basically robbing Peter to pay Paul,” Martin explained.

He says the 30-year-old exemption is outdated. He believes the gas tax hike could mean millions of dollars to make our roads safer, boost economic development and in the long run, actually save drivers money.

“We saw around 17, 18 million dollars in estimates last year, that’s over half a penny of gas tax that go to repair automobiles,” Martin added. “For the condition that it is in, if we don’t take steps to improve it, it is only going to cost us dearly going forward.”

If the gas sales tax exemption is removed, the tax would go up four cents a year, for three years in a row.

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