MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Moving to South Carolina could cost an extra $500 if a proposed bill were to become law.

The so-called “Yankee Tax” would allow voters to charge their new neighbors $500 in fees to move to South Carolina. The bill cleared the Senate Finance Committee in an 11-6 vote. It will now head to the Senate floor for debate.

The bill would add a cost of $250 to the cost of getting a South Carolina driver’s license and another $250 onto the registration fee.

If passed, a referendum would be placed on the ballots of voters in each county. The funds could only be spent on infrastructure, public education and green space preservation within any county that approves the measure.

Right now, many people moving to South Carolina pay $330 for a new license, new car title, registration and a one-time Infrastructure Maintenance Fee. The “Yankee Tax” would tack on another $500 — all on top of the property tax payment due on the car, which could cost another hundreds of dollars.


Note: Cost is based on South Carolina’s passenger car registration fee of $40. Motorcycle, moped, RV and trailer registration costs vary. An extra $60 is added to the registration fee for hybrid vehicles, and $120 is added for electric vehicles.

In a previous story, News13 included a poll asking whether charging $250 for new residents to get a South Carolina driver’s license was too much. 80% of the more than 2,200 people that responded said that dollar amount was too much.

Sen. Stephen Goldfinch (R-Murrells Inlet) wrote the bill and said it’s not fair for current residents to pay for future growth.

“Newcomers should have to pay their fair share and honestly we’ve fallen behind on infrastructure, roads, bridges and schools, green spaces for a long time,” he said. “It’s past time, and our quality of life has been impacted too long. It’s time for us to try to resolve this issue.”

Most people who spoke to News13 at the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles in Myrtle Beach on Wednesday said they were opposed to the idea. However, there was a divide between those who just moved to South Carolina — mostly against the bill — and those who’ve been here for years who support it.

“Between property taxes and the DMV fees, I thought that was already high, so to add that additional amount would just be a little absurd to me,” said Ron Kurimsky, who lives in Horry County.

“I just think there’s plenty of other ways that they can get money for roads,” said Shawn Gore, who also lives in Horry County.

Comments on News13 Facebook posts have been overwhelmingly negative, with some calling it “stupid.”

Some people who spoke to News13 at the DMV that were in favor of the bill declined to go on camera.

“Let’s take a look at the plan that we put out there to make sure that plans don’t cause a reverse for people who actually do want to come here,” Sen. John Scott (D-Richland County) said.

“It’s not a one size fits all,” Goldfinch said. “It’s tailored for each individual county to do what’s best for their constituents.”

The bill was amended this week to specify that the referendum could only be up for vote during a general election. The earliest it could appear on the ballot is 2024.

Let us know what you think. Should people moving to South Carolina have to pay $500 in one-time fees for a driver’s license and vehicle registration? Take our poll below.

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