Legislative Updates

From the State House: March 25

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WRITTEN BY lclark 3 years ago

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Last week, the Senate Finance Transportation Funding Special Subcommittee met again to hammer out the details of the committee’s transportation funding plan. Chairman Ray Cleary suggested the subcommittee focus solely on the revenue for infrastructure funding, removing South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) restructuring and income tax reductions from the table. When fully implemented, the plan will generate over $650 million in recurring revenue each year for infrastructure funding. Key components of the subcommittee’s plan: •    Increase and index the motor fuel user fee 4 cents each year for three years •    Increase driver’s license fees: 5 year renewal $25 or 10 year renewal $50 •    Implement an alternative fuel vehicle fee $120 per year •    Implement a hybrid vehicle fee $60 per year •    Increase the vehicle sales tax cap from $300 to $600 The plan received unanimous approval from the subcommittee and will be debated in the Senate Finance Committee meeting this week. Last Wednesday, the Senate Transportation Subcommittee met to discuss S.561, a bill dealing with SCDOT restructuring. The subcommittee agreed that the SCDOT commission should be expanded from seven to nine commissioners, who will be all appointed by the Governor and serve for a term of six years. The subcommittee amended the bill to require that each congressional district have one commissioner and no county will have more than one appointee to the commission. The appointees will be screened by the Joint Transportation Review Committee and receive consent of the SC Senate. Additionally, the commissioners will appoint the Secretary of Transportation. Finally, the bill requires that the Office of Inspector General will be responsible for the internal audits of SCDOT. The amended bill has received a favorable report from the subcommittee and will go before the Senate Transportation Committee this week. Last Thursday, the Senate passed Senator Tom Young’s bill allowing military personnel or their dependents to receive in-state tuition. The bill, one of the South Carolina Military Base Task Force's legislative priorities, now goes to the House. Finally, more good news on infrastructure funding front! With the budget behind them, the House Ways and Means Revenue Policy Subcommittee met on Tuesday and began discussion of Representative Gary Simrill’s and the House ad-hoc committee’s transportation funding bill. Follow me on twitter @chaslobbyist for updates from Columbia on this critical issue.
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