Lawmaker proposes 'Yankee tax' as northerners flock to this state in droves

FILE - Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge is pictured over the Cooper River to Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo by: Visions of America/Joseph Sohm/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

South Carolina state Sen. Stephen Goldfinch has proposed a bill, dubbed the "Yankee Tax," that would require new residents to pay up to $500 to move to the Palmetto State.

If passed by state referendum, new residents moving from out-of-state to South Carolina would be required to pay two one-time fees: $250 for new driver’s licenses and $250 for vehicle registrations.

Goldfinch told Fox News Digital that the proposal is not trying to stop people from coming from out of state, just for new residents to "catch up with the rest of us."

"I’m not trying to build a wall and this is not a fee against new residents, it’s a fee for people to catch up with the rest of us," Goldfinch told Fox News Digital.


The money raised from the additional $250 tax would go toward the state's infrastructure, including roads, bridges and common community spaces.

"I think there's a rational basis for requiring newcomers to catch up with the rest of us and contribute to the roads, bridges, schools and green spaces that we've [residents] always contributed to," Goldfinch told Fox News Digital.

His proposal comes after droves of people from the Northeast have moved to South Carolina in recent years. According to the U.S. Census, nearly half a million people moved to the Palmetto State in the past decade.

People flocked to the Southeast during the pandemic and stayed due to a host of reasons, including work flexibility, lower taxes and warmer weather.


Goldfinch points to South Carolina residents as inspiration for the bill.

"Our quality of life has been diminished by the almost 4 million people that have moved here in the last decade." Goldfinch said. "And we anticipate another million people moving here in the next decade. Everybody is concerned about their quality of life."

Despite the tax to newcomers, Goldfinch said he doubts that the additional $250 or $500 will discourage people from moving to South Carolina.

"I find it hard to believe that $250 is going to dissuade anybody from coming." Goldfinch said.

The New Resident fee referendum will be available for debate on the South Carolina Senate floor next week, Goldfinch said. If passed, counties will vote on it in their general elections in 2024.

South Carolina isn't the only state with similar legislation on their ballots. California and New York proposed legislation to tax people leaving their state.

"If you can charge people to leave, I don't see any reason why you can't charge somebody to come in the door," Goldfinch said.

Get updates to this story on