Gas Tax Increase Becomes Law After Lawmakers Override Governor's Veto

Lawmakers overrode the Governor's veto of the gas tax increase. It will take effect July 1

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Both the House and Senate voted to override a veto of the roads bill made by Governor Henry McMaster.

The Governor vetoed the bill on Tuesday night, after both chambers voted to approve the changes made in the conference report.

"I am vetoing this bill because it represents the single largest tax increase in our state's history, and places its greatest burden on South Carolina's working families, young workers and senior citizens," writes Gov. McMaster in a letter to lawmakers.

However, on Wednesday morning, a vote of 95-18 in the House and 32-12 in the Senate, made the bill law.

"We are going to see over the next decade, roads paved, highways repaired, people put to work,” says Senator Vincent Sheheen, D-Kershaw.

He along with other senators gathered after the vote to express their excitement over the new law.

“I wish that the governor would've supported our efforts, but really this is the legislature stepping up where the governor and the past governor refused to provide leadership,” he says. “They stood in the way of improving our roads and we were ready to move on down the road in helping the people of South Carolina.”

"We kill almost 20 people a week on our roads and bridges,” says Sen. Paul Campbell, R-Berkely. “We put something in the neighborhood of 100 people in the hospital each week. We're going to stop doing that and we're going to make our roads safe."

The new law increases the gas tax by 12 cents over the next six years, brings changes to the way commissioners are appointed to the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT), and gives tax breaks to South Carolinians.

While the General Assembly made it a priority to fix roads around the state, Sen Tom Davis didn't think the passage of this bill was the way to go.

He says the bill doesn't restore accountability in the dot and that it sets the stage for massive borrowing in the future.

"I don't think this is going to work out very well in the long run,” says Sen. Davis, R-Beaufort. “You certainly have a lot more money going into the system so you are going to see some roads put in better condition, but I still don't think South Carolinians are going to get the results they deserve for those reasons."

This is the first time in 30 years that the state has raised the gas tax. The increase is expected to generate $600 million annually for South Carolina roads.

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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