Two Senators, 5 Questions About the Roads Bill

L&M asked Lexington County Senators Ronnie Cromer and Shane Massey five questions about the roads bill currently being finalized in the Senate.

The South Carolina Senate is nearing an agreement to fund road projects in the state.

1. Are in you favor of the bill?
2. What do you see as its strong points?
3. What are its weaknesses?
4. Is it sustainable?  That is, will it provide the funding for the years required to bring state, county and local roads up to par?
5. How do you see this affecting the court ordered fixes to rural schools?

Here are their responses :


Senator Ronnie Cromer   Ronnie Cromer
1. Are in you favor of the bill?

Yes, I was one of the Senators proposing it because we had stalled and could see no way out of the box we were in.Are in you favor of the bill?

2. What do you see as its strong points?

It gives the DOT the same amount of money that would have been realized out of the House passed Road’s bill without raising taxes, $400 million out of at least a $Billion surplus this year.

3. What are its weaknesses?

If we experience a down year, we may not have a sustainable source of funding.

4. Is it sustainable?  That is, will it provide the funding for the years required to bring state, county and local roads up to par?

See no. 3

5. How do you see this affecting the court ordered fixes to rural schools?

I do not see it affecting the court ordered opinion to fix rural schools.  The court said nothing about a proposed amount of funding.  We have many other issues affecting our rural schools that need to be fixed besides just funding.  However, if funding is found to be an issue, then we still have close to a $billion in surplus from this past budget year.

 


Senator Shane MasseyShane Massey

1. Are in you favor of the bill?

Yes, I’ll vote for it.

2. What do you see as its strong points?

The strongest part of the agreement is completely revamps the governing structure of SCDOT by having the governor appoint all members of the commission, and it makes the SIB more accountable by requiring SCDOT commission approval of all decisions. 

3. What are its weaknesses?

The biggest weakness, I think, is the funding mechanism.  The agreement uses $400M in recurring General Fund dollars to pay for infrastructure improvements.  That General Fund money will come, primarily, from income taxpayers.  So we’re not getting a contribution from nonresidents (as the gas tax would), we’re not collecting more from large trucks that cause more damage (as the truckers actually asked us to do), and it requires the few SC residents who pay income taxes to foot the bill.  It moves the ball forward, but it’s not great financial policy.

4. Is it sustainable?  That is, will it provide the funding for the years required to bring state, county and local roads up to par?

Yes, I am confident it is sustainable.  The BEA has certified that we’ll have more than $400M in additional recurring dollars, so I am comfortable with that.

5. How do you see this affecting the court ordered fixes to rural schools?

I don’t think this will really have an impact on the legislative response to the Abbeville decision.  We were most likely going to have tax relief in the neighborhood of $400M or so.  This deal means we’re probably not going to get that tax relief.  I don’t think it impacts education at all, though.



 

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