SC governor: 'I do not want to raise taxes. Period'

by: Greg Suskin Updated:

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YORK COUNTY, S.C - It could be only a few days before a bill to raise the gas tax in South Carolina hits Gov. Henry McMaster's desk.

The governor told Channel 9 on Monday that he doesn't favor any additional tax on gas.

McMaster visited York County to cut the ribbon on a new interstate welcome center on I-77.

The new $8 million facility greets travelers with an electronic guest book, a touch-screen map and a video board linking visitors to details on the sights in every corner of the state.

Just outside the shiny new facility, roads and bridges around the state are crumbling.  

Ed Humphrey, an Uber driver, believes that a gas tax might be inevitable.  

"If they gotta do it, they gotta do it, I guess,” he said. “I think they should mull it over for a while longer.”

State Rep. Gary Simrill introduced a roads bill that has passed the House.

The bill is expected to raise the gas tax 10 cents over five years and up the maximum sales tax when you buy a car from $300 to $500.

A Senate bill is targeting a 12-cent gas tax hike and capping the car sales’ tax at $600. That bill also adds fees for driver's licenses.

"I don't want to raise taxes on the people of South Carolina. Period,” McMaster said.

He did not say he would veto a bill with a tax hike in it. He said that should be a last resort.

McMaster said he will look for other funding to fix the roads, even though the state's gas tax has not been raised since 1987.

He said the state's growing economy could provide funding options.

Simrill told Channel 9 the state is running out of other options.

"The money is just not there to fix the roads and do this right," he said.

 

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