You probably think the gas tax has something to do with roads. You would be mistaken. A recent letter writer gave us 10 reasons to raise the gas tax, all based on the false assumption that it pays for roads and infrastructure.
It does not. That revenue goes directly into that black hole called the General Fund.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation has to stand in line and beg the legislature for money. The legislature then takes money from the fund for road projects in the districts of the most senior legislators. Roads are built and maintained not on the basis of prioritized necessity but on political pull.
The price of gas has fallen and will most assuredly rise again. Opportunistic politicians look at this as a perfect time to pick your pocket.
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The burden of the gas tax falls most heavily on lower income earners struggling to pay their bills. Income tax relief will have little impact on them. Raising the gas tax will, however, reduce the disposable income of everyone and suck the vitality out of the economy.
The gas tax should not be raised. The existing gas tax should go directly to the SCDOT. The SCDOT should then prioritize its building and maintenance projects based on objective necessity. Problem solved.
So go ahead, raise the gas tax and watch the money disappear.