Henry McMaster continues to disappoint those of us who had hoped for some leadership for a change over at the governor’s office.
At least, we kept telling ourselves, he hadn’t threatened to veto the bill increasing the gas tax and reforming DOT, the way Nikki Haley would have done.
Well, today he crossed that line.
Then he exacerbated it by coming up with a cockamamie alternative for paying for road repairs:
Promising to veto an increase to the state’s gas tax to repair the state’s roads, S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster wants lawmakers instead to borrow up to $1 billion to fix South Carolina’s crumbling roads.
McMaster, governor since January, urged lawmakers to change a proposed $500 million borrowing plan, proposed by the House, to instead spend that money — and more — on roads. McMaster made his proposal in a letter Tuesday to House Speaker Jay Lucas, R-Darlington….
The speaker gave the proposal the contempt it deserved. Translated from genteel Lucasspeak, he not only said “No,” but “Hell, no:”
Governor McMaster’s proposal continues the pattern of placing the costs of road repair solely on the South Carolina taxpayer and not on out-of-state motorists who use and deteriorate our crumbling roads. Borrowing more money to fix South Carolina’s roads and bridges will not serve as a permanent solution to our infrastructure crisis. The House passed our roads bill with an overwhelming bipartisan and veto proof majority, which protects the South Carolina taxpayer by providing a sustainable funding stream that requires every motorist to pay their fair share.
Not only is Henry throwing behind the runner — he’s throwing to first when the House has long ago crossed home plate — but the proposal would have been ridiculous even if it were still an open question in that body.
We have a mechanism for the ongoing funding of roads — the gas tax. You want to fix roads and you don’t have enough money, you raise the gas tax. It’s not complicated, and there is no call for trying to reinvent the wheel as a way of avoiding the obvious, commonsense solution….
Now, why would any republican, or sane person for that matter, want to borrow money that we’d have to pay back with interest when we have the means of paying with money, now? To the best of my knowledge the only financial institutions that would approve of using this way of owing extra money are the ones lending that money.
When the state truckers association comes out wanting to pay more taxes for roads, that should show how widespread the problems are perceived and how broad the recognition the tax is the best way to pay for the roads repair. The smokescreen Davis and others have used for years trying to mask their desire to starve government and advocate for reduced top income taxes should be better exposed. Of course money will have to be borrowed through bonds to get started fast, but the tax revenue will lower the interest rate by raising the rating and allow escrow of funds to pay them off quicker and cheaper. Ideological libertarians won’t be content until we have toll roads and private police and firefighter forces.
As I’ve said a number of times, most recently last week, I’m nostalgic for the days when Republicans went out of their way to do what business interests wanted, rather than abandoning all sense in order to please fringe ideologues.
If you follow the bidding of the Chamber of Commerce et al., you will govern in a sober, responsible way that strengthens the economy — maintaining infrastructure, making sure the schools turn out responsible, skilled citizens, and other commonsense things.
Why is it so hard to get back to that?