COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The following “My Take” is an expression of opinion by the editorial board at WIS, and presented by Vice President and General Manager Lyle Schulze:
It's time to stop messing around and agree upon a workable plan to fix South Carolina's pathetic roads.
This state has one of the country's lowest gas taxes. It hasn't been raised since 1987.
We can see where that has gotten us: blown tires, traffic jams, higher vehicle maintenance, congestion. You get the picture.
If you've ever traveled from the Palmetto State to any of our neighboring states, you'll understand it when I say it's usually a relief to get out of South Carolina and onto smoother interstates with more than two lanes.
Governor Nikki Haley's plan to fix the problem includes raising the gas tax by a dime, but lowering the state's tax rate significantly. Lawmakers have argued the Governor's plan won't raise enough money.
Dueling plans in the General Assembly call for hikes ranging from 10-12 cents. Those plans also include increasing fees for driver's licenses and sales taxes on vehicles.
Hundreds of thousands of people who don't live here travel through our state. It seems simple to me, a balanced plan including a moderate gas tax hike and vehicle taxes is preferable.
Let's tax the people who use our roads every day and not just hit the citizens of South Carolina in their wallets.
Each cent the state's gas tax is raised means about 10-dollars more in out-of-pocket fuel costs per year for the average driver. A figure released by the governor's office earlier this year shows- each penny would raise approximately $33 million annually.
M. Jack Sanders, the Chief Executive of Sonoco, said earlier this year South Carolina's roads cost his company up to $5 million annually. He supports raising the gas tax.
The South Carolina chamber and manufacturers alliance sent lawmakers a letter stating it's unacceptable to adjourn the session without a deal. Heading into this legislative session, the roads issue was the number one priority to those who voted you into office. Listen to your constituents and get a deal done so those who call this wonderful state home can begin to believe you truly represent them. Otherwise, when you're run out of office, there might not be any usable roads to escape after June 4th.