Sen. Tom Davis hits the brakes on SC gas-tax guzzlers


ISLAND PACKET: BY DAVID LAUDERDALE, May 30, 2015

State Sen. Tom Davis of Beaufort is trying to calmly upset the apple cart the good ol’ boys have been pushing forever in Columbia.

Davis has held the floor in the Senate for the past two weeks, putting the brakes on progress in the final days of the legislative session. This is when the rubber of the money machine finally hits the road in Columbia, and Davis is warning us to watch for falling millions.

The Republican attorney has talked for a total of 35 hours to stop a $700 million annual tax increase, most of it at the gas pump.

He has a plan to get more money to the roads, but he told me Friday he wants to change “the politically-driven and borderline corrupt way that money is spent” by the legislature.

He appears to be headed the wrong way on a one-way street, bucking the legislature’s entrenched leadership and heavy lobbying from chambers of commerce, truckers, road builders and more.
But nobody made him sit down.

Davis has been in the well arguing for a change in the annual capital reserve fund bill, saying $47 million of the $87 million in the bill should be for roads.

With 26 votes or three-fifths of senators present, whichever is less, Davis could have been put back in his seat. And the Senate could have moved on to the next bill — the one to raise the state gas tax by 12 cents a gallon, along with other tax and fee hikes.

“I think I’m moving the needle, and I think I’m playing a role in having the dollars sent where they ought to be sent,” Davis said.

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