It was the most encouraging headline I had seen out of South Carolina in some time: “Lawmakers consider gas tax hike.”
But before we write this into another chapter of Profiles in Courage, let’s ponder the cold-water caveat:
A bipartisan group of S.C. lawmakers told business leaders Monday they are ready to raise the state’s gas tax — one of the lowest in the nation — to repair roads and bridges. But, they added, they need the support of Republican Gov. Nikki Haley.
Haley, who is seeking re-election, has said she would veto increasing South Carolina’s 16-cent-a gallon gas tax, which has not been increased in 27 years…
The boldface emphasis is mine.
In other words, we’re going to be brave and step out and do the right thing — but only if the one person in South Carolina least likely to go along with us steps up and leads us.
So, no dice.
Still, the fact that they’re floating this is encouraging. It makes me think, maybe something positive can be possible — after the election. Of course, barring some road-to-Damascus conversion on the governor’s part (assuming she’s still governor), the initiative would need a veto-proof margin of support.
Which is a ridiculously high mark to have to meet in order to do the right thing, the commonsense thing.
But that might be the reality. And that’s in a best-case scenario.
Speaking of elections, allow me to remind you that only one candidate for governor has had the guts to take the right position on this issue. That’s long-shot independent Tom Ervin.