afp-sc: reform not tax

Last week, various media outlets reported that state Republican legislative leaders and the powerful Chamber of Commerce agreed to organize a campaign to push for a Gas Tax hike during the 2015 legislative session.  The article did not mention any specific reforms to the Department of Transportation or transportation spending in SC, nor did it refer to any possible coinciding long-term tax relief efforts.  We oppose this proposal and any stand-alone gas tax increase.

AFP – SC agrees that many of our roads and bridges are in need of repair.  We believe road construction and repair is one of the core functions of government. “User fees” that draw money from those who use the roads – and use that money to actually fix roads, is the best way to do this. However, raising taxes without any serious spending reform and long-term tax relief is a dangerous road to travel.  South Carolinians simply don’t trust that the tax they pay at the pump is actually going to fix the roads they drive, instead of unrelated expenditures

We all know that raising taxes on fuel will hurt all South Carolina citizens, particularly neighborhood businesses and fixed-income families. Just a nickel increase would destroy nearly 1000 jobs, end the possibility of $10.8 million in new investment, and cost South Carolina families an additional $78/year.[1] However, the proponents of this proposal want to double the misery by throwing more of our money at a department, and budgetary process, that is in serious need of reform.  Currently, all gas tax revenue collected ends up in Treasury where legislators have discretion over how it is spent.  There is no accountability of where the money is going, nor is it dedicated to only repair roads and bridges.

[1] Beacon Hill Institute – South Carolina Income Tax, Manufacturer Tax, and Gas Tax Study

The South Carolina General Assembly must reprioritize spending and find creative solutions to ensure that road and bridge repair are properly prioritized and funded.  Until legislators regain the trust of South Carolina families that their hard-earned money is actually going to fix the roads they use to drive to work, school, or home, there is no way a Gas Tax hike should be considered.  When the revenue and the spending are so disconnected, South Carolina will never succeed in earning the trust from its citizens.

AFP – SC and our 23,000 grassroots activists are prepared for the nearly inevitable fight in the 2015 session.  Call your legislator today and urge them to oppose this Gas Tax hike proposal.