CAGC: Legislators Hope for Enough Votes to Override Road Funding Veto

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

Late last week, the South Carolina road conference committee finally agreed to and adopted a conference report. The proposal will generate roughly $640 million in recurring road funding and maintenance once fully funding in 2023. The conference report includes funding, tax reductions and reform; all issues that should help in garnering enough votes to override a veto by Gov. McMaster. 

 Funding:

- Increases the gas tax 2 cents a year over the next six years

- Increases biennial registration fees on private passenger vehicles by $16

- Imposes an “Infrastructure Maintenance Fee” on the purchase of a motor vehicle (capped at $500). This increases/replaces the current $300 sales tax/cap on motor vehicles

- Imposes a one-time $250 fee for individuals who transfer a motor vehicle from another state

- Creates new registration fees for alternative vehicles: $120 for vehicles powered by anything other than motor fuel; and $60 for hybrid vehicles.

- Imposes a Motor Carrier Roads Use Fee

- Note - the bill DOES NOT include indexing

Tax Reductions and Credits:

- Creates tax rebates to offset S.C. residents paying a higher gas tax and driving fees (up to $114 million)

- Provides a two wage earner tax credit

- Provides for an earned income tax credit

- Provides for a manufacturing, business personal property tax reduction

SCDOT Commission Reform:

- Increases the SCDOT Commission to a 9-member commission: 7 representing the congressional districts, 2 at-large; all appointed by the governor.

- Provides that the Joint Transportation Review Committee (JTRC) screens and approves all appointments.

- Requires that the 7 congressional appointments are confirmed by congressional delegation members from both the House and Senate.

- Requires that the 2 at-large appointments must be approved with the advice and consent of all the members of the General Assembly.

- Requires all 9 commissioners serve at the will of the governor.

What Now?

The conferees all signed the report late Friday and it will now go to both the full House and Senate for final consideration next week. We expect the plan to be adopted by both Chambers.

The bill will then go to Gov. McMaster. Despite the fact that McMaster has five days to sign the bill, he is indicating that he will immediately veto it.  Legislators feel confident they have the votes to override his veto.