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SC Legislature Overrides Gov. Veto, Raises Gas Tax For First Time In 30 Years

Nick de la Canal

South Carolina's gas tax will be raised 12 cents over the next six years after the South Carolina legislature voted overwhelmingly to override Gov. Henry McMaster's veto of the measure.

The House voted 95-18 Wednesday morning to override the governor, and the Senate voted 32-12 to do the same hours later.

While McMaster agreed with lawmakers in the General Assembly that millions of dollars were needed to repair the state's crumbling highways and bridges, the governor said raising the gas tax should be an absolute last resort. He tried to get federal money for the repairs, and later urged lawmakers to borrow money meant for repairing state buildings.

When those solutions didn't pan out, lawmakers moved ahead with a proposal to raise the gas tax to 28.75 cents per gallon. McMaster vetoed the measure Tuesday.

As lawmakers moved to override the governor's veto Wednesday, both Democrats and Republicans in the House derided McMaster for what they called poor leadership. House Speaker Jay Lucas said the governor was choosing to listen to campaign consultants, rather than South Carolinians.

The tax hike now goes into effect June 1. It will raise the gas tax by 2 cents annually for the next six years. Lawmakers estimate it will generate more than $600 million annually.

The Associated Press contributed