Michigan House Republicans believe roads should be a top priority at the state Capitol.
And while it’s very easy to just say that roads should be a priority, we know that Michigan residents expect more from their elected officials. That’s why we introduced a plan last Wednesday that not only makes roads a priority, it holds the Legislature accountable by state law for making sure they continue to be a priority.
Since that time, however, there’s been lots of blatant mischaracterizations about the plan. We’d like to set the record straight:
Myth #1: The House GOP roads plan relies on projected state revenue growth.
Reality: Our roads plan does not rely or count on projected revenue growth, or is in no way tied to future revenue growth. The plan includes a new statutorily protected revenue stream that would be earmarked specifically to fix roads and bridges, regardless of growth. Much like the way Michigan families pay a fixed amount of their budget for a mortgage payment every month, the state would make a long-term fixed payment annually to improve roads and bridges.
Bottom line: Hundreds of millions of existing state tax dollars would be allocated annually to improve our infrastructure under our plan, whether state revenues grow or not.
Myth #2: The plan will eliminate the popular Pure Michigan campaign.
Reality: Our roads plan makes no mention of the Pure Michigan campaign and does not affect the popular campaign in any way. Our plan redirects some funding from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, which operates the Pure Michigan campaign, but the organization will still have hundreds and millions of dollars to use for its programs. If MEDC officials believe that Pure Michigan is a priority for the state, then they will fund the program. Moreover, the Legislature has the ability to specify that these remaining dollars be used for Pure Michigan if it so chooses, as House Republican budgets have done for the last several years.
Let’s also remember that the MEDC’s primary goal is to increase business development and interest in our state. We believe that having safe roads and bridges is vital to economic investment, so it makes sense that part of MEDC’s funding goes to fix our roads.
Myth #3: The roads plan is based on “accounting gimmicks.”
Reality: Michigan has created earmarked state revenue streams for certain state programs and services for several decades. In fact, nearly $20 billion in revenue is currently earmarked every year to fund important services such as schools, veterans programs and improvements to our natural resources.
We believe the state of Michigan has reached a crisis point when it comes to the condition of our roads and bridges. We also believe Michigan motorists have no appetite for large-scale tax increases and convoluted solutions. Creating a statutorily protected funding mechanism to improve our roads and bridges makes perfect sense if Michigan roads and bridges are actually a priority.