We recently addressed the increasing possibility that South Carolina would pass a gas tax increase this year, by way of House Bill 3516, formally known as the Infrastructure and Economic Development Reform Act (Act). House members approved it 97 to 18, and it moved to the Senate, where that chamber received it favorably. In mid-March, the measure proceeded to the Finance Committee, but a late March vote of 23 to 18 revealed less widespread support. In early April, the Senate’s debate on the bill was put on hold.
Despite support in the House, there have been suggestions that the Palmetto State may not see a gas tax increase any time soon. The Post and Courier blamed this on “[a] faction of rebellious Senate Republicans [who] killed an effort by members of their own party that would have made the highway gas tax bill a priority.” The dissenting senators took issue with the fact that the increase, which ultimately would have amounted to 12 cents, or 2 cents per year for each year between July 1, 2017, and July 1, 2022, was not offset by either tax cuts elsewhere, or reform of the highway department. The paper characterized the move as a “revolt.”