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Most SC drivers reject proposal to raise gas tax - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Most SC drivers reject proposal to raise gas tax

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The Palmetto State is touted for having some of the cheapest gas prices in the south. But lawmakers are still looking for an answer to the question -- how do we make up for the budget shortfall? The solution could be to siphon more money from your wallet at the pump. 

This week a committee of Republicans heard from an expert who suggested several tax increases to help South Carolina's budget. The idea to increase the state's gas tax certainly isn't a new one, but it's obviously something that continues to come up as an option.

No one wants to pay more for gas, but that's exactly what Dr. Holley Ulbrick from Clemson University is suggesting to House Republicans. The lawmakers asked for her input as they work to create a new state tax system.

The gas tax has been 16 cents since 1987, and Ulbrich says just adjusting for inflation would bring the tax to 32 cents. "Well if you ask me, they need to come on down with it," said Billy Bartley, who thinks now just isn't the time to increase any tax. 

Jessica Kirby agrees a tax increase right now would be terrible. "I think even raising it one cent is going to affect the working-class person," she said. "I don't think they should raise the prices of the gas. I think it is too difficult right now with the economy the way that it is."

Governor Nikki Haley says she won't support a gas tax hike, and other lawmakers say they'll only raise that tax if other taxes are cut. At this point it's just an option, but some drivers say they're not totally opposed to it.

Money from the gas tax would help pay for better roads and other DOT costs, and Ulbrich says it could help with the state's budget troubles. She says drivers probably wouldn't notice small increases over the next few years.

The idea to raise the gas tax still has a long way to go. Public input will be taken over the next few weeks, and if the committee recommends it in November, republicans would have to introduce it as a bill in January.

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