State Rep. Sarah Lightner reacted to the governor’s budget proposal, shared with the Legislature this week.
The proposal included raising taxes on a class of businesses that includes Michigan’s small business owners from 4.25 percent to 6 percent and a state gas tax increase to 45 cents per gallon.
“Raising costs on the backs of small businesses and Michigan families is a strategy that didn’t work in the past, and it won’t work today,” said Lightner, who sits on the House Appropriations Committee. “While I absolutely agree more must be done to improve Michigan roads, residents also deserve some relief. Michigan drivers are already feeling the effects of increased costs to drive caused by the state’s broken auto insurance system. Let’s first address the ever-rising cost of insurance before going back to our districts with our hands out asking for even more funding for roads.”
Lightner also noted that many Jackson County residents will see improvements to their roads this spring and summer as the result of a 2015 roads funding plan that will be fully phased in by 2021. This year alone, the state set aside $4 billion for road and bridge repairs across the state.
While the state needs to continue to work to make sure there are revenues to fund important functions, like road repair, Lightner also pointed out that state tax policies can’t chase out the businesses local communities worked hard to attract after the Recession.
“Small business is the backbone of America,” Lightner said. “We all remember the dark storefronts and high unemployment rates of the past. I look forward to working with my colleagues to keep Michigan growing with policies and investments that mean more opportunities for our families and communities, not fewer. Our state’s strategy needs to encourage doing business in Michigan, rather than force businesses out of state— or even worse, out of the country.”