Posted this last week on Facebook but wanted
to make sure everyone had the opportunity to see this:

Many of you know that I campaigned for my 2016 Election last year AGAINST raising the gas tax.  I always keep my campaign promises and proudly voted NO this week on the so-called Roads Bill that passed the Senate 33-10 on Wednesday night.  People asked us to fix their roads – NOT raise their taxes!

I firmly believe that the biggest problem at SCDOT is that its operations are based almost wholly on political decisions made by a politically appointed Commission. I cannot support even more funding to SCDOT until that agency is under the direction of the Governor who is truly accountable to all South Carolinians. If a Governor with total responsibility for the agency came to me and said that we need more money, then, and only then, I would listen; not necessarily support it, but I would listen. I will not, though, agree to put more money into a bucket that 99% of the people, including my colleagues, know is full of holes.

I have fought for the last 3 years to get the General Assembly to do what I stated above so we would be in a position now to listen to a Governor’s assessment and plan.  Unfortunately, those of us who want to do things right get ignored by those who only want more money without totally fixing the system.  The penny tax for Education was supposed to fix education and funding.  How is that working?  The increased cigarette tax was supposed to fix our Medicaid woes.  How is that working as Medicaid is now almost 30% of our state budget?  Do we really think a gas tax increase to add more money into virtually the same system will yield better road maintenance results?

The bill that just passed the Senate is a huge tax increase and fixing roads will still be political and here are the facts of the bill:

  • Gas tax increases $0.02 per year for 5 years (from $0.16 to $0.28), but not accounting for automatic increases based on the Consumer Price Index after 2022 (autopilot)
    • Road tax increases the same for motor carriers (big trucks)
  • Passenger car registration fees increased
    • From $24 to $40 for people 64 and younger
    • From $20 to $36 for people 65 and older
  • Property carrying vehicles registration fees increased
  • Taxes on car purchases increased from $300 to $600 over time (automatic to $500, then increments of $50 until $600)
    • If first registration was in another state, you get taxed again (starts at $250, then increments of $50 until $600)
  • New road use fee for electric cars of $120
  • New road use fee for hybrid cars of $60
  • Normal License renewal fee changed from $12.50 to $25.00 every 5 years
  • Real ID compliant License renewal fee changed from $25 to $40 every 8 years
  • SC Transportation Infrastructure Bank remains alive and well
  • You get a motor fuel tax credit if you save gas receipts and actually spend money on your car maintenance (what a joke)
  • Refundable tuition tax credit up to 50% (Free college – oh joy – I thought the only goal was paving roads)
  • DOT Changes
    • Adds one state-wide commissioner
    • Governor can fire commissioners at will, but the legislature must approve replacement commissioners that were fired
      • (See where this is going – the Governor still is NOT in charge!)
  • DOT will have to give annual expenditure report and prepare a Transportation Asset plan

As you can see, this is a huge tax increase and fee increase.  There is NO fundamental difference in how DOT operates – roads still get fixed by politics!

Thanks, and I appreciate your support.

Shane Martin
SC State Senator – District 13
Greenville, Spartanburg, and Union Counties
P.O. Box 575  Pauline, SC  29374
Cell 864-804-8499

Twitter: @senshanemartin