MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — A proposed bill could make new South Carolina residents pay $250 for a driver’s license to bring down the financial burden of growth on existing residents.

South Carolina’s population has increased by roughly half a million people over the last decade, bringing the state’s population to more than 5.1 million.

With growth in South Carolina intensified by the pandemic, State Senator Stephen Goldfinch (R-District 34) authored a bill he believes would help all 46 counties in the state cash in on the growth.

Counties would be allowed to raise driver’s license fees from $25 up to $250 for first-time applicants moving to the state.

“We never anticipated this kind of growth that we’re experiencing now, so it’s time to redo this system and think of a better way,” Goldfinch said.

The fee would not apply for driver’s license renewals.

The bill specifies that the money generated from the increase could only be spent on infrastructure, public education and greenspace in each county.

The fee could also only be approved by voters in a ballot referendum.

“It’s not an impediment to moving and it’s not supposed to be,” Goldfinch said.

“If you’re going to move to South Carolina, you’re probably going to have to pay the fees,” said Dawn Solideo, who just moved to Horry County. “I wouldn’t be happy about it, but I guess I would have no choice.”

“A little more is not bad, but the price you’re talking about is way too high,” said Bill Onspaugh, who has lived in Horry County for 30 years.

Let us know what you think. Do you think $250 is too much to ask first-time applicants to pay for a South Carolina driver’s license? Take our poll below.

Florence County Councilmember Jason Springs (D) backs the bill. He said he doesn’t see why existing South Carolina residents would vote against a potential increase for newcomers, adding that it’s another way to fund the growth.

“Not only would this help put infrastructure in place for the new people, but it would also provide the same infrastructure to our existing citizens,” Springs said.

Goldfinch believes the bill has a good chance to pass this upcoming session, which begins in January.

The bill will have to move through the finance committee.

If the bill passes, individual counties would then decide if they want to put it up for a referendum to let voters have the final say on a potential increase.

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