- Associated Press - Monday, May 8, 2017

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A road-funding compromise approved by the Senate on Monday would be eventually expected to send the state Department of Transportation an additional $630 million annually for road construction, once a rebate to South Carolina drivers ends, and reduce revenue to state coffers by $105 million. Debate on the compromise now moves to the House.

A breakdown of the money that would be raised:

-The state’s per-gallon gas tax would increase by 12 cents over six years, to 28.75 cents in 2022. The first 2-cent increment would take effect July 1.

-The sales tax cap on vehicles would rise from $300 to $500, starting July 1. That means anyone who buys a vehicle worth at least $10,000 would pay $500.

-People moving to South Carolina would pay $250 to newly register their vehicle bought in another state.

-Drivers’ biennial vehicle registration fee would increase by $16. Currently, the fee is $20 to $30.

-Commercial truckers licensed with out-of-state fleets would pay a fee based on the miles they drive annually passing through South Carolina. Truckers already are federally mandated to track miles traveled in every state for other fees and taxes.

-Drivers of hybrids and electric vehicles would pay new fees of $60 and $120, respectively, every other year.

How the rebate would work:

-South Carolina drivers could recoup extra money paid at the pump. The cumulative cap would rise from $40 million the first year to $114 million in year six, then sunset. Technically, drivers would be reimbursed for maintaining their vehicles, up to 100 percent of their added gas taxes. The rebate could be claimed by itemizing gas and service costs on income tax returns, starting next year.

For example, drivers who put 300 gallons of gas in their vehicle between July 1 and Dec. 31 could get a $6 refund next year to offset the cost of oil changes, new tires or other maintenance. Taxpayers could claim two vehicles per return and would be asked to keep track of their gas fill-ups and service receipts.

A breakdown of the proposed tax cuts:

-Low-wage workers could claim a state income tax credit equal to 125 percent of the federal credit, phased in over six years.

-Property taxes paid by manufacturers would decline from 10.5 percent to 9 percent over six years.

-An income tax credit for married couples filing jointly would rise from the current $210 to $350 over six years. To qualify, both spouses must work in South Carolina.

-Tax credits for college tuition, whether for a two- or four-year school, would rise to a $1,500 cap.


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