The persistent push by lawmakers to increase taxes by $1.2-$1.6 billion to fund roads continues in Lansing tomorrow. For the second time this week, the House Transportation Committee will be meeting to discuss various bills that would increase the amount of state taxes residents of Michigan will pay per gallon of fuel.
The catch? Michigan residents already have the fifth highest total taxes on gasoline in the country. This new legislation would give Michigan the highest total taxes on gasoline. Also, Michigan is one of eight states that collects sales tax on gasoline. This sales tax does not go to road funding and amounts to nearly $1 billion of the road funding increase requested.
Legislators have a buffet of options available to them in order to balance more road funding with cuts elsewhere. Here is a quick recap:
- Eliminate Film subsidies, $50 million
- Eliminate 21st Century Jobs program, $75 million
- Repeal state prevailing wage laws, $107 million
- For more, read Balance Increased Road Spending with Cuts
None of these programs have been discussed for elimination and are still available to be cut and redirected toward road funding. If state lawmakers want to have a serious discussion about road funding, then they need to start by eliminating spending on programs that are abismal failures. They should also enact policies that stop the favoritism of one worker over another, i.e., prevailing wage.
Michigan residents are best served when the government leaves as much money in the hands of private citizens who are best suited to make consumption and investment decisions for themselves and their families. This provides the ultimate atmosphere for entrepreneurs and small businesses to thrive. Michigan can certainly benefit from that.
Don’t let Lansing politicians cut your budget! Call your state lawmakers and let them know that you oppose any tax hike for roads until we stop spending money on Hollywood film subsidies and corporations.
Update: On Thursday, House Speaker Jase Bolger didn’t rule out tax hikes as a mechanism for raising more money for roads. He noted that the budget is not due until October 1st, and additional revenue for transportation needs has not been identified.