Proposal protects school funding; helps roads across the state
Rep. Shane Hernandez, chair of the Michigan House Appropriations Committee, and Rep. Jack O’Malley, chair of the House Transportation Committee, today unveiled legislation to help fix local roads without a tax increase.
The bipartisan bill package calls for ensuring all state taxes paid at the gas pump go to fixing roads, with a priority on roads managed by local municipalities such as counties, cities and villages. The measures would phase out the 6 percent sales tax drivers already pay on fuel purchases over a three-year period, and replace it with an equivalent revenue-neutral fuel tax – generating approximately $800 million more per year for local roads.
“We should address roads in a way that works for the entire state of Michigan – not just certain parts of it,” Hernandez said. “This solution would provide more resources for rural communities and local roads, not just major highways and big cities. I’m not interested in increasing taxes or adding to debt. I want to work from the simple, common-sense premise that we do the best job possible with the resources we already have – and that includes directing all taxes already paid at the pump to fixing Michigan’s roads.”
O’Malley has championed the need for fixing local roads, which make up the majority of road miles across Michigan. The governor’s recent road bonding idea only addressed around 9,600 miles out of 120,000 total in the state, ignoring the driveway to highway roads people use for a variety of different needs.
“The statistics show local roads are in the worst shape,” said O’Malley, of Lake Ann. “When I started on the House Transportation Committee, I went across the state to around 20 town halls to speak with drivers and local officials about their roads and what we can do about them in Lansing. The message was consistent that locals need more tools in their toolbox. I’ve been working hard to deliver on that input and this shift would be another positive development to help in that area.”
Both legislators underscored their commitment to holding school funding harmless. Safeguards proposed by O’Malley are built into the legislation to ensure those investments continue and school funding is not negatively impacted in any way. Sales tax revenue currently dedicated to schools from fuel purchases would be fully replaced.
“The bill protects school funding and commits to our children’s future. Roads, schools and other essential services remain our top priorities,” O’Malley said. “But to continue investing in these priorities, we need to look for efficiencies and make tough spending decisions just like Michigan families have to do every single day with their own budgets.”
House Bills 5582-85 and 5587-88 will be referred to the House Appropriations Committee for consideration.