Lawmakers “Hit the Gas” on a Road Funding Plan
Members of the Michigan Senate could vote as early as today on a plan to raise a billion dollars for road and bridge repair in the state. But the ultimate decision on how to fix the state's crumbling infrastructure could end up in the hands of voters.
MLive.com is reporting today that the idea would increase the fuel or sales tax but give back some relief to struggling families.
"We're going to step up to the plate, make a decision yes or no, and then ask the poeple if they would like a different alternative," said Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, a Republican from Monroe.
The plan, according to the report, would switch the tax on the wholesale price of fuel. It would then ask voters to decide in November whether to amend the constitution to increase the state sales tax--money to be earmarked specifically for roads--or stay with the legislature-approved plan. For the issue to appear on the ballot, it would require a two-thirds vote by lawmakers.
To get Democrats on board, though, Republicans will have to consider restoring the Earned Income Tax Credit to its original rate. There appears to be more support for another plan that would restore the Homestead tax credit. Richardville is quoted as saying he would be open, though, to a "hybrid" proposal.
Governor Rick Snyder says it will take as much as $1.5 billion per year for the next ten years to fix the roads. The gas tax alone would raise most of that, according to the Senate Fiscal Agency.
Lawmakers just last month approved $450 million for road funding that prioritized spending and did not include any new taxes.
House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall, has announced he's committed to at least holding a vote on the proposal, although, he has not publically endorsed Richardville's plan.
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