After vetoing $375 million in new road funding late last year, Governor Gretchen Whitmer next week is expected to roll out her new “plan” to fix Michigan’s crumbling roads.
She’s finally acknowledged that her absurd 45 cents per gallon gas tax hike won’t fly. (Her top Democratic allies in the legislature calling it “extreme” and refusing to even sponsor her bill might have had something to do with that.) So what’s next?
If we’re to take candidate Whitmer’s word for it, voters might have to get ready for the governor to make an end run around the legislature to fix today’s problems by running up tomorrow’s debt liability.
Shouldn’t come as a surprise. She threatened to do just that all the way back on the campaign trail. According to reports at the time, Whitmer told the press that if she couldn’t get Republicans to raise taxes, she’d look to borrow a whopping $2 billion with new bonds.
It’d be a proposal that brought the Governor full circle. First she embraced bonding. Then she lambasted a Republican plan to issue bonds to shore up Michigan’s underfunded teacher pension system and pay down long term unfunded liabilities. In fact, she said bonding was an idea “out of (former) Governor Snyder’s trash can.”
Now there are rumors Whitmer is considering bonding or borrowing – but without using it to pay down long term debt (and free up general fund dollars for road repairs).
In other words, bonding to pay off long term debt is a problem, but bonding to go on a new spending spree isn’t. Or so the argument apparently goes. What Whitmer really thinks of bonding, nobody knows.
Perhaps next week we’ll finally have an answer?
Michigan Freedom Fund
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