Southern Lawmaker Proposes 'Yankee Tax' as Blue Staters Flee Tyrannical Northeastern States


It’s called the “Yankee tax.” Since South Carolina is the third-fastest growing state in the nation, its legislature is considering taxing newcomers through special vehicle and driver licensing fees.

The fees — $250 for a new driver’s license and $250 to register an out-of-state vehicle — are part of a bill sponsored by Republican state Sen. Stephen Goldfinch, WCBD-TV reported.

It’s not a blanket statewide measure, but if passed would give each county the opportunity to hold a referendum to locally impose the fees.

“We have a serious issue in South Carolina, especially in high-growth counties, where our quality of life is being diminished,” according to Goldfinch.

“Because of the high growth, we’re just not able to keep up with the infrastructure, the schools, the roads, the bridges, the utilities, and the green space that we need in order to keep our quality of life,” he said.

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For instance, Fort Mill’s population has quadrupled in the past decade and its mayor, Guynn Savage told WCBD-TV, “Growth does not pay for growth.”

“Even the residential growth that was here isn’t paying the taxes needed to afford all of the services that are provided in a municipality,” she said.

“Everyone enjoys the benefits of growth,” according to Savage. “Everybody loves a new restaurant, a new boutique, a new service, a new park.

“I think that it’s something that also comes with challenges that must be met.”

Is your state in danger of becoming more liberal because blue-staters are moving in?

But won’t an extra $250 driver’s license and $250 vehicle fee deter people from coming to South Carolina?

Goldfinch doesn’t think so.

People from states with high property taxes like New York, New Jersey or Ohio — where most newcomers to South Carolina come from — will save literally tens of thousands of dollars by entering an area with a low cost of living, according to Goldfinch.

A $250 driver’s license fee won’t stop that, he said. “And if it does, if that offends you so much that it stops you from moving here, honestly, go somewhere else.”

If Goldfinch’s bill passes and the growth rate continues, he estimates a South Carolina revenue increase of $250 million over the next decade.

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He has likened the newcomer charges to impact fees developers pay to offset costs of their new projects on existing infrastructure, WYFF-TV reported.

The newcomer fees can only be spent on local infrastructure and on education and greenspaces.

But Democratic Sen. John Scott said newcomers are already underwriting improvements through a 2017 increase of gasoline taxes in 2-cent increments over a six-year period.

Those funds go to a trust fund for maintenance of infrastructure, WYFF-TV reported.

And Goldfinch said he was open to a military exemption given concern of Republican Sen. Katrina Shealy who said many in the military adopt South Carolina as their permanent residence when transferred there.

There are other issues besides strain on infrastructure caused by individuals leaving declining blue states for prosperous red states.

Some are concerned about political and cultural changes, especially as individuals of liberal persuasions come to conservative locations and bring along the attitudes and beliefs that fouled their original nests.

Northwest Arkansas, where I live, is undergoing exponential growth. It’s changing from a group of small cities growing toward each other to a budding metropolitan area now numbering over a half million.

Traffic is becoming a major nuisance and those of us who are conservative are concerned about increasing urbanization taking our region to a more liberal bent.

I’m sure they’re concerned about that in South Carolina, too.

So, if you’re a liberal, remember this about the South — we have lots of snakes, coyotes, bears, skunks, and ticks and I imagine we have bugs that even scientists have never heard of.

Come here and these critters will all live under your house and sometimes in it and from time to time they may carry off your dogs and cats.

But we love it. And with the right mindset you might, too.

Better be careful, though. In South Carolina they’re working on a Yankee tax.

And since liberals have never met a tax they didn’t like, they should be good with that.

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Mike Landry, PhD, is a retired business professor. He has been a journalist, broadcaster and church pastor. He writes from Northwest Arkansas on current events and business history.
Mike Landry, PhD, is a retired business professor. He has been a journalist, broadcaster and church pastor. He writes from Northwest Arkansas on current events and business history.