Aiken County leaders worry Gas Tax Bill incentives for manufacturers could impact county revenue

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) – It’s the last holiday weekend before the new South Carolina Gas Tax hikes up the price you pay at the pump.

Rebates and tax breaks, included in the Gas Tax Bill, are protecting drivers and providing manufacturers with more incentives.

Companies in South Carolina pay the highest property tax in the country, which state legislatures say is a big turnoff for small companies.

The Gas Tax Bill has a lot moving parts, including slashing the amount of money manufacturers pay in property tax.

However, that has some Aiken County leaders worried about what it could mean for the county budget in the future.

Every time you fill-up you’ll be adding to South Carolina’s Infrastructure Maintenance Fund.

By 2023, the extra 12 cent, is projected to bring-in more than $3 billion dollars in revenue.

“That money by law can only be used for improvement and maintenance on existing South Carolina roadway,” Senator Shane Massey told WJBF NewsChannel 6.

The gas increase officially starts on July 1, 2017.

Drivers should start keeping their receipts on Jan. 1st, 2018, so they can be reimbursed on their taxes in April 2019.

South Carolina drivers aren’t the only ones getting back what they pay at the pump.

Lawmakers decided to give manufacturers a break, by lowering property taxes.

“So one of the things that’s included in the bill is to decrease that 10.5 percent property tax rate, down to 9.5 percent.” Massey said.

The state has vowed to pay counties the difference from the general fund.

Still, Aiken County Council Vice Chairman Andrew Siders is worried it could be a significant loss in revenue for the county.

“This is all money that comes back to the counties and we use it for just about everything.” Siders told WJBF NewsChannel 6. “It’s part of our budget.”

“Well what’s going to happen is the manufacturer is going to take that credit based on their income tax collections,” said Massey. “So the counties aren’t really going to be out the money at all. It’s going to happen simultaneously.”

South Carolina residents don’t have to present their gas receipts to the Department of Revenue, but they should keep them in case of an audit.

The gas rebates for drivers will be phased out in 6 years.

Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest on this developing story. 

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