By Greg George
During his 2013 State of the State address, Governor Snyder has been discussing the idea that Michigan’s roads are in disarray and that the only solution is to increase taxes by $1.2 billion. We know this is silly and our message has been resonating.
According to MIRS News, the vote to increase the sales tax by one percentage point and place this decision before voters has been pushed back until next May or August’s ballot.
“With so many moving parts, Senate Majority Leader Randy RICHARDVILLE (R-Monroe) said today he does not think lawmakers can cobble together a sales tax increase for education in time for a November vote, but he confirms that those discussions are underway with a May or August date more likely.
“Earlier this week, sources told MIRS it was possible some type of deal could be reached with legislative leaders and Gov. Rick SNYDER on a way to raise $1.2 billion in road money while increasing education funding.
“However, the chances that two-thirds of the House and Senate will pass a measure of this kind for the Nov. 5 ballot by the Sept. 6 deadline is no longer very likely.”
Previously, I have mentioned research done by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy that shows ways of prioritizing spending that does not involve raising taxes.
Michigan is one of eight states that pays a sales tax on gasoline. The money collected from that raises approximately $700 million for education and $500 million for local governments, not roads.
Some lawmakers have proposed changing this so that the money collected at the pump goes to the roads used to get the vehicles there. Lawmakers have struggled selling this idea to those concerned with the loss of money to both education and local governments.
Changing the collection of sales tax on gasoline to go to transportation funding is an obvious fix and there are plenty of solutions for eliminating waste in government to make up for spending elsewhere (if necessary). The Mackinac Center’s “Benefits in Balance” study recommends savings totalling $5.4 billion, which is certainly a lot of potholes.
Grassroots activists concerned by the unsustainable growth of government deserve a lot of credit for getting this message out to their lawmakers. “Citizens should be considered first, not last, when tax increases are discussed,” said AFP-Michigan State Director Scott Hagerstrom. “Taxpayer money should never be wasted. Michigan drivers already pay the 5th highest total taxes on gasoline and as such are paying for first class roads. It is time the Governor and legislature deliver a first class product.”