SC: Economist tells state lawmakers its good time to raise gas tax

According to an economist at Clemson University, they believe that the unpredictable gas prices could create a chance to raise the state’s fuel tax. The possibility of increasing the gas tax, during this time of “opportunities” facing lawmakers for tax reform was brought up by Holly Ulbrich, an economist and senior scholar with Clemson’s Strom Thurmond Institute. She believes that the gas tax is among a small group of taxes that is not indexed to inflation. Also, she has argued that even if it were coming from tax, people wouldn’t notice. Rep. Tommy Stringer, a Greenville Republican chairing the committee, disagrees and thinks that they would notice. He also believes that you can always tell where we are in the economy based on gas prices; if the gas prices rise you can than tell we are in a recession and by raising taxes on transportation at this point wouldn’t be good. Auto carriers would then have to raise vehicle shipping rates in order to compensate them for the increase in fuel prices. Robert St. Onge, the transportation secretary, thinks that agency leaders are going to have to choose between cutting expenses for a poorly maintained road system or find additional revenue.

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