Rep. Joe Bellino today said the next state budget plan should not be held up over Gov. Whitmer’s demands for a massive gas tax increase.
Whitmer, who proposes a 45-cent per gallon tax hike to help repair Michigan roads, has said she won’t sign a budget without a roads plan. But she has refused to consider a variety of reasonable alternatives proposed by the Michigan Legislature, sticking to her original and wildly unpopular proposal.
“As always, I’m going to represent the people of Monroe and Wayne counties who elected me to be their voice,” said Bellino, of Monroe. “Drivers and their families have made it very clear to me how they feel about the governor’s gas tax proposal. They don’t want it. We have offered the governor some really good alternatives this summer to help repair roads, but she won’t budge. We can’t let her hold things up any longer.”
Provisions in the Michigan Constitution require action on a state budget before the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.
“Roads are important,” Bellino said. “But there are a lot of things in the state budget that are important and we’ve got to get them done. School funding, money for police and fire protection, mental health and substance abuse programs, funding to keep our drinking water clean – all of these items and many more are affected by the state budget. It’s not right for the governor to hold funding for essential parts of our government hostage while she tries to force through her regressive tax hike that would hit working class families the hardest.”
Bellino noted the budget proposal approved by the House in June adds more than $800 million a year to road repairs and more than $200 million in additional K-12 school funding without a tax increase.
The House plan boosts the state’s minimum per-pupil foundation grant by $180. Most districts would get that increase, and every district would get at least $90 more per student.