After failing to set an infrastructure funding bill for debate, the Senate Republican Caucus asked business leaders to be patient as they were working on a proposal. Last Thursday, 18 senators stood together to release their proposal, which has three parts: highway funding, income tax reduction and South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) reform. The proposal was released during a press conference led by Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler (Cherokee) who said, “The key elements of our plan are reforming and modernizing the DOT, establishing solid long-term funding to make our roads safe and a tax cut plan that makes South Carolina more competitive.”
The Senate Republican Caucus plan would ultimately provide $800 million in additional recurring revenue using diverse means, including an increase in the gasoline tax by 4 cents per year for three years (12 cents total), increasing the $300 sales tax cap on vehicles to $600, raising driver’s license fees and car registration fees, instituting a fee for hybrid/electric vehicles and implementing a road user fee for commercial vehicles over 26,000 lbs. Hear details of the plan from Senate Ray Cleary (Georgetown).
The plan also reforms the governance of the South Carolina Department of Transportation, enabling the governor to nominate the members of the SCDOT Commission. The Secretary of Transportation would nominate the SCDOT Secretary. Both the Commissioners and Secretary would go through the same screening and confirmation process, and SCDOT Commissioners would still represent each congressional district. Hear from Senator Larry Grooms (Berkeley).
The plan also cuts income taxes by 1 percent across all brackets. The cut would be phased-in over five years with a circuit breaker in years when state revenue does not meet expectations. Hear from Senator Sean Bennett (Dorchester).