Bill Gives Counties More Flexibility to Fund Infrastructure The Ways & Means Sales and Income Tax Subcommittee heard testimony on legislation (H.3948) sponsored by Rep. Leon Stavrinakis (D-Charleston), which would allow counties that have imposed a local option Transportation sales tax to also impose a Capital Project sales tax. Rep. Stavrinakis said that many counties are growing faster than the state can meet needs, so the bill allows local governments and ultimately voters to choose to address infrastructure issues at the local level. The bill removes the restriction on counties to impose a Capital Project sales tax and a Transportation sales tax at the same time. Josh Rhodes, SC Association of Counties, testified in support of the bill, noting that Dorchester County passed a transportation penny (2005) to meet needs they had at the time; however, they have not been able to revisit the issue because of limitations. Allowing a capital project sales tax would be a tool to tackle projects not addressed by the transportation penny. “This is a good way to address needs while giving authority to voters,” said Rhodes. The bill was passed favorably out of the Ways & Means Committee on Thursday morning and placed on the House calendar.
SCPA Board Bill, Left Lanes, Move to Senate Floor The Senate Transportation Committee approved S.595, which gives SC Department of Commerce (SCDOC) and the SCDOT more involvement on the SC Ports Authority (SCPA) Board. The SCPA Board consists of nine members, each appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. It also includes two non-voting ex officio members, the Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of Transportation. The bill removes the prohibition on ex officio members attending Executive Sessions and also provides them voting rights. The Committee also gave favorable reports to bills (S.434 and H.3011), establishing criteria for driving in the left lane and imposing a $25 fine.
This week, two bills were introduced in the House to reduce or repeal the gas tax entirely. It has been a while since we have seen anti-gas tax bills introduced, but this signifies that we are slowly inching back to a bit of “normal.” In case you are wondering, these bills do not offer an alternative funding source or address how the state would fund roads. However, we are confident that IF a subcommittee chooses to entertain these bills, that question would likely be the first to come up…
S.4090 – SCDOT Revenue Reports Primary Sponsor: Patrick Haddon (R-Greenville) Requires the SCDOT to publish reports on all of the department’s funding and requires the SCDOT to provide details on any funds transferred to the SC Transportation Infrastructure Bank. The bill was referred to the Ways & Means Committee.
S.4091 – Motor Fuel User Fee Increase Reduction Primary Sponsor: Patrick Haddon (R-Greenville) Ceases the phase-in of the two-cent increase on July 1, 2020, reducing the total 12 cent increase established by Act 40 to 8 cents. The bill was referred to the Ways & Means Committee. S.4092 – Repeal of Motor Fuel User Fees Primary Sponsor: Patrick Haddon (R-Greenville) Repeals the motor fuel user fees on gasoline and diesel. The bill was referred to the Ways & Means Committee.
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