In response to comments made this week by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer regarding the Republican-led Michigan Legislature, state Rep. Eric Leutheuser, of Hillsdale, today reiterated his opposition to a vastly unpopular 45-cent per gallon gas tax increase in the governor’s budget.
“It’s not the right way forward for Michigan,” said Leutheuser, who represents a pair of border counties that could potentially see lost business as residents drive across state lines for cheaper gas. “The Legislature listened to residents and looked at how unpopular this plan is – over 80% disapproval in one recent poll – and understood that Michiganders don’t want to be stuck with a massive tax to fix their roads. They want them fixed, but there are other ways to go about it than simply forcing hard-working residents in southern Michigan to pay a 45-cent gas tax increase.”
Throughout the summer months, House Republicans have arranged different plans and engaged in discussions to adequately fund road repairs.
In June, the House approved a budget plan that redirects the 6 percent sales tax motorists already pay at the pump to roads. This adjustment adds more than $800 million a year to repairs without a tax increase. It’s a proposal that comes on top of the 2015 plan already adding to roads gradually, with over $1 billion in additional annual revenue estimated to be generated by 2021.
The plan also emphasizes getting more money into schools, raising the state’s minimum per-pupil foundation allowance by $180 and assisting a majority of Michigan school districts. All districts statewide would receive at least $90 more per student as part of a $226 million foundation grant increase in the K-12 budget.
“We have provided several viable alternatives that respect people’s hard-earned money while working to fix roads and supply students with what they need to succeed,” Leutheuser said. “I’m confident we can reach an agreement.”
Provisions in the Michigan Constitution require action on a state budget before the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.