Michigan Governor Proposes Nearly Tripling the Gas Tax


Michigan governor's plan would make fuel taxes highest in US

‘There’s just got to be a better way than 45 cents per gallon’

Rising price of fuel making gas tax hike a tougher sell for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

Poll: 75% oppose Whitmer's 45-cent gas tax hike plan

Analyst: Gas tax could slow economy, harm families

Opinion: Whitmer’s gas tax hits Michigan’s poorest residents, those with debt

In the nine months since Governor Whitmer unveiled her 45-cents per gallon gas tax hike, the legislature has done a tremendous job holding the line. They recognized the damage this wildly unpopular proposal would do to the pocketbooks of Michigan taxpayers and protected them from this pathetically unserious idea.

When she walked away from budget negotiations, they again did their job, passing a budget that funded Michigan’s priorities – including more money for our damn roads and bridges – all without raising taxes. Which, of course, Governor Whitmer vetoed.
That’s why it’s so disappointing that now, mere days before the legislature breaks for the holidays, some in the legislature have moved to make it easier for others to raise taxes.

It was a year ago Saturday, on October 12, 2018 in the heat of the general election campaign when then-candidate Gretchen Whitmer uttered perhaps the biggest whopper of the cycle.

Standing on a debate stage and accused by her opponent of planning to raise Michigan motorists’ gas taxes by as much as 20-cents per gallon, Whitmer condescended and shot back.

Labor Day; a time to celebrate Michigan workers, to enjoy one last taste of summer, to take that last family outing before the kids head back to school, to navigate orange barrels and never-ending lane closures.
This holiday weekend may be more frustrating than ever for motorists as work sites on local roads and highways remain behind schedule amidst a month-long strike by the Operating Engineers union. Worse, there appears to be no end in sight.

It’s been said that history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme. Here in Michigan, the debate over road funding is going back to a familiar, off-key chorus.
In October, Bill Schuette accused Gretchen Whitmer of supporting a 20-cent gas tax hike to “fix the damn roads.” She called that claim “ridiculous,” “nonsense,” and swore that he was making it up. She won the election and went on to reveal her big, bold plan to fix the roads… which was nothing more than a 45-cent gas tax hike!

Governor Whitmer remains insistent that she cannot “fix the damn roads” without raising taxes on Michigan citizens, or as she likes to call it, “new revenue.”

Unfortunately, it seems some in the legislature are starting to agree. While they balked at her proposed 45-cent gas tax hike, they’re entertaining the notion of a smaller, 20-cent gas tax hike.

Those who were hoping for a big summer as Governor Gretchen Whitmer looked to drive the state forward could be forgiven for feeling… stuck in neutral.

Instead of fixing the damn roads, Whitmer has demanded the legislature do her work for you.

This column originally appeared in the Detroit News.

“Nobody on the road, nobody on the beach. I feel it in the air, the summer's out of reach.” – Don Henley

August will soon be in our rearview mirror, and along with it the first summer on the job for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Like Henley in his 1984 classic, Michiganians may have a little voice inside their heads screaming don’t look back.  

Whitmer reversed course on campaign pledges and wasted summer months on a dilettante roadshow promoting a tax hike that was dead on arrival when there was still snow on the ground.

Michigan’s roads aren’t the only thing in a state of crisis.  Here in Michigan, our public school teachers’ pension plan is currently underfunded by about $40 billion, requiring huge annual investment just to keep up and ensure teachers receive their retirement benefits.

As the public demands that every tax dollar they pay at the pump go to fund road repairs, policymakers are left with a dilemma.  Today, roughly $540 million in sales tax paid at the pump doesn’t go to roads – it goes to the school aid fund to help pay for those teacher pensions.

This column originally appeared in the Detroit News.

State lawmakers deserve no small measure of credit for their deliberate approach to improving the state’s crumbling infrastructure, in particular their determination to find solutions that solve the road funding problem without gouging taxpayers.

Their efforts stand in stark contrast to the economically devastating approach favored by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer – a new and regressive 45 cent per gallon gas tax hike, opposed by 75% of state voters, and so deeply unpopular even among Democrats that not a single member of the governor’s own party has been willing to sponsor a bill to put her proposal before the legislature.

Gas prices are set to rise by as much as 19 cents per gallon, according to petroleum analysts at GasBuddy, and that’s before Governor Whitmer gets her hands on them.  According to a report this morning, motorists will soon see sticker shock at the pump, with prices expected to reach an average of $2.99 per gallon.
Business leaders, policymakers and legislators attending this week’s Detroit Regional Chamber Annual Mackinac Policy Conference will return home to Wayne County, for instance, to a nearly quarter-per-gallon jump in their fuel costs.
The news couldn’t come at a worse time, as Governor Whitmer made the rounds yesterday at the conference, pushing lawmakers to pass her 45-cent-per-gallon gas tax increase by the end of June.

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