Ex-lawmakers: Hike gas tax 47 cents to fix Michigan roads

Jonathan Oosting, The Detroit News Published 1:14 p.m. ET Jan. 31, 2019 | Updated 5:34 p.m. ET Jan. 31, 2019

Lansing — A new bipartisan group co-chaired by former state Sens. Ken Sikkema and Bob Emerson is calling for a 47-cents-per-gallon gas tax increase over the next nine years to pump an extra $2.7 billion a year into Michigan’s roads and bridges.

The proposal released Thursday by the “Michigan Consensus Policy Project” comes as Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer prepares to unveil her plan to “fix the damn roads” in March as part of her first budget presentation.

“There’s no question there’s a need, and no question about the importance of this,” said Sikkema, a West Michigan Republican and former Senate majority leader. “It’s our hope that this proposal jump starts that important conversation.”

The proposal calls for a five-cent increase in per-gallon gasoline and diesel taxes in each of the next nine years, which would eventually generate the $2.6 billion in needed funds identified last year by former Gov. Rick Snyder’s 21st Century Infrastructure Commission.

An additional two-cent tax would be applied in the first year to generate $110 million annually that state and local units could access with matching funds to finance additional local projects.

The proposal promises to be a tough sell in the Republican-led state Legislature, which grudgingly approved a seven-cent gas tax increase as part of a $1.2 billion-a-year road funding law that Snyder signed in 2015. The state isn’t set to generate the full $1.2 billion until 2021. 

“The problem hasn’t been solved, and it needs to be solved,” Sikkema said, noting projections that it is significant more expensive to rebuild a bad road than it is to maintain a decent one.

A 47-cent increase would give Michigan gasoline tax of 73.3 cents per gallon, which would be the highest rate in the nation when fully implemented in nine years. The proposed rate would be a nearly 180 percent increase over the current tax of 26.3 cents per gallon.

Raising the gas tax is the most appropriate way to raise new revenue for roads because it “closely correlates to he amount of driving people do,” said Emerson, a Flint Democrat.

The proposal would cost the average middle-income, four-person household with two vehicles about $67.41 in additional gas taxes the first year and another $48.15 in each of the next nine years, according to [Read More Here]

Comments/Opinions from Conservative Choices Newsletter: 

As typical, follow the money. Sikkema works for influence peddlers, lobbyists Public Sector Associates.

Public Sector Associates – Why do so many departments of Michigan government have lobbyists? Certainly the taxpayers are funding their campaigns against the taxpayers and  in support of more government, more regulations, more bureaucracy. Their  Clients Their Staff

Emerson served 18 years in the House and eight in the Senate where he was minority leader. Emerson serbed as Gov. Granholm’s Budget Director. He was appointed by liberal “Republican” governor Rick Snyder to a state review team for the City of Flint including Emerson.  Reference

Emerson is a Director for Michigan League for Public Policy (MLPP), a very liberal lobbying organization that opposes any Michigan tax cuts.  Source

MLPP wants to “Ramp Up” school funding (as if $ 2.5 Billion increase isn’t enough while the number of students went down about 250,000.  Reference

MLPP opposes any Federal government cuts as Michigan is more dependent on Federal spending than any other state.  Cite

Paul Hilligonds has been the far left go-to guy for years. Chief Executive Officer of the Michigan Health Endowment Fund; Chairman, Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan, The Kresge Foundation’s Board of Trustees, former Detroit Edison executive and president of Detroit Renaissance.
“We knew we needed a leader who shares our big vision and has a proven track record of accomplishment,” said Bob Fowler, who also is CEO of the Small Business Association of Michigan. In 2013, the health endowment fund was created by state legislation that allowed Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan to convert into a non-profit mutual health insurer. The fund will receive $1.56 billion over 18 years from the Blues. (who gets it from rate payers).  Reference

John Cherry served as the state political director for the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. He was then elected to the Michigan Legislature as a
State Representative (1983-1986), State Senator (1987-2002) and Senate Minority Leader. Cherry was elected in 2002 as the running mate of Democrat Jennifer Granholm.

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