Post Tagged with: "roads"

BRACK:   The General Assembly isn’t filled with policy Einsteins

BRACK:   The General Assembly isn’t filled with policy Einsteins

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |   The list of recent big policy failures by the South Carolina General Assembly is downright impressive.

First is transportation infrastructure, which got into a deplorable condition during the 28 years it took state lawmakers to raise the gas tax so it could deal with $40 billion of highway needs, potholes, bridges and deferred maintenance.  At least they finally boosted the gas sales tax this year to start fixing the problem.  But they’ll have to come back to it because they didn’t index the sales tax hike to inflation.

Next is the state’s pension system for employees, which rang in as a $24 billion problem.  A few years back, lawmakers decided to raise the expected return on investment to a completely unrealistic level.  As a result – and in combination with the Great Recession and a whole bunch of really bad investment decisions – the value of the pension fund sank like a lead balloon.

by · 08/11/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
BRACK: The legislature takes a wild ride in 2017

BRACK: The legislature takes a wild ride in 2017

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher | The General Assembly’s 2017 legislative session is sure to be remembered for a long time as a wild ride.

Two things stand out. First, who in the world would have thought the Republican-led legislature would have given millions of dollars in tax relief to working people in South Carolina in a bill to hike taxes to fix roads? Most of the time, tax breaks go to the rich.

Second, who would have thought that the state’s new governor, Henry McMaster, would stay so much in the background during the legislative session?

by · 05/12/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
NEWS:  Earned-income tax credit has surprise chance

NEWS: Earned-income tax credit has surprise chance

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher | State Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter for years has dreamed of South Carolina having an Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) as a way of raising incomes for the working poor.

Now there’s a chance it could get done as a part of a broad gas tax package passed this week by the state Senate to generate much-needed hundreds of millions of dollars a year to fix roads and bridges.

“I love it because the one thing I can say about this bill is that there is tax relief for people who really need it and that group is working families in this state,” Cobb-Hunter , an Orangeburg Democrat, said this morning. “Hallelujah!”

by · 04/28/2017 · News
BRACK: A pat on the back to Grooms, Sheheen for practical roads bill

BRACK: A pat on the back to Grooms, Sheheen for practical roads bill

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher | Larry Grooms and Vincent Sheheen pored over spreadsheets for weeks looking for a solution that hornswoggled their state Senate colleagues for three years: A practical way to raise the state’s gas tax to fix roads.

By Wednesday, an idea by Republican Grooms – allowing state drivers to get rebates of their portion of the 12-cents-per-gallon hike in the gas user fee – blended with tax cut priorities by Sheheen, a Democrat, to cobble together a piece of winning legislation. While Sheheen brought a solid bloc of the minority Democrats to the table, Senate President Pro Tem Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence, and Grooms delivered a group of moderate Republicans who stuck together, vote after vote, to thwart filibuster threats and get the bill passed.

by · 04/28/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
NEWS:  Ervin’s song for S.C.:  “We got the pothole blues”

NEWS: Ervin’s song for S.C.: “We got the pothole blues”

EDITOR’S NOTE, 4/28: This story was posted earlier in the week before Wednesday’s vote by the state Senate to approve a road-funding bill. You might still enjoy!

Staff reports | Former S.C. gubernatorial candidate Tom Ervin of Greenville has gotten so frustrated by the continued “lack of vision and failed leadership “ by state senators and Gov. Henry McMaster in funding the billions of dollars of much-needed road and bridge repairs that he wrote “Pothole Blues” and got it recorded.

“We should demand that our state politicians ‘fix the damn roads’ and stop kicking the can down the pothole filled road,” Ervin told Statehouse Report.

Click here to listen to the song, brought to you first by Statehouse Report.

BRIEF:  Roads bill not finished in Senate … still

BRIEF: Roads bill not finished in Senate … still

Staff reports | You know the old political cliche, “kicking the can down the road?”

Well, that is what the state legislature has been doing for years with South Carolina’s poor roads system. And if this week’s debate on a House infrastructure bill in the Senate was any indication, then the road that can is headed down will have a lot of potholes and needed repairs.

by · 04/21/2017 · News, Palmetto Politics, Politics
BRACK:  South Carolina needs to stop shooting itself in the foot

BRACK: South Carolina needs to stop shooting itself in the foot

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher | There’s some high-fiving going on in Columbia as state lawmakers are pushing through measures to raise the gas tax and fix the state employees’ pension system.

Unfortunately, these are solutions for problems of the legislature’s own making. Had the General Assembly done its job years ago, legislators wouldn’t have to be raising taxes to fix crumbling, pot-holed roads. They wouldn’t have to be charging taxpayers and state employees more to make up for dumb losses to the state’s pension fund.

Just look at the hullabaloo about raising the state’s fourth-lowest-in-the-nation gas tax of 16.75 cents per gallon by a dime per gallon.

by · 03/03/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster during a nomination speech of President-elect Donald Trump at this year's GOP convention.

TOP FIVE: From McMaster’s priorities to common-sense investing

In this week’s Top Five stories you might have missed:

* McMaster offers insights into state’s challenges;
* How to fix sales taxes today;
* Hofferth outlines need for more higher ed support, funding;
* Scoppe asks legitimate questions on pension funding;
* Mayor pushes continued beach renourishment.

by · 02/17/2017 · News, Top Five