Provision in roads bill proposes consumers pay more in car taxes - FOX Carolina 21

Provision in roads bill proposes consumers pay more in car taxes

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Vehicles purchased could soon be taxed by at least $200 more if proposal passes in legislature (FOX Carolina) Vehicles purchased could soon be taxed by at least $200 more if proposal passes in legislature (FOX Carolina)
COLUMBIA, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Anyone who buys a new or used car in South Carolina may soon have to pay at least $200 more in sales tax if proposals in the state legislature are approved. 

Currently, when one buys a car in South Carolina, one pays a capped rate of $300. The proposal in H.B. 3516 would up that by $200. The $300 rate has been in effect since 1984. 

The revenue generated from that tax hike would go toward rebuilding and maintaining South Carolina roads and bridges, lawmakers said. 

"We have to develop a sustainable, recurring stream of money that is doing to address these needs," said Rep. Gary Clary (R-Pickens) in a phone interview with FOX Carolina's Andrew Reeser. [That's] so we don't take money from the general fund to pay for it," said Clary, adding money from the general fund has been used too much trying to address the road problem.

Another Upstate lawmaker, Rep. Bill Chumley (R-Greenville), opposes the bill, which is called the SC Infrastructure and Economic Development Reform Act. 

"A lot of my constituents are people who buy used cars or older cars, and it's gonna be a little harder for them than some other people who are buying more expensive cars," said Chumley.  The measure within H.B. 3516 requires cars between $6,000 and $10,000 or more be taxed at the capped rate of $500. 

The measure also has called for an increase in the state gasoline tax, a point which is still being debated in the legislature. 

Big businesses like Michelin North America said in a news conference Tuesday at the state house they are ready for the legislature to agree on something to fix South Carolina roads, arguing delaying any further will result in economic crisis and job loss. 

"As of right now there is no plan, there is no plan to address this problem," said Pete Selleck, President of Michelin North America. That is unacceptable. It's absolutely unacceptable for the future of this state."

But smaller businesses and car dealerships, like Deal Depot in Greer, have an interest in keeping taxes low, said Deal Depot's owner Darla Booher. 

"It can have a huge impact on the automotive industry as a whole," said Booher, who is also president of the Carolinas Independent Automobile Dealers Association. She argued higher sales taxes on new and used cars will hurt her customers, many of whom are on fixed incomes. 

"I think we can all get behind fixing our roads," said Booher. "What we have an issue with is the means by which that additional tax is being collected."

The Senate version of the roads bill, S.54, calls for car buyers to pay a capped rate of $600 on purchased vehicles. 

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