Michigan Legislators Put Gas Tax Talks Aside In Order to Avoid Government Shutdown



Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has stalled talks on the proposed 45-cent gas tax in the state’s annual budget as state legislators have till October 1 to reach an agreement to avoid a government shutdown.

“The people of Michigan deserve leadership in Lansing that will work to continue providing them with services they depend on every day. In conversations over the weekend, we’ve agreed that the best course of action is to immediately begin target-setting with legislative and executive leadership to get a budget passed by October 1st,” Whitmer, House Speaker Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clark Lake’s Monday joint statement said.

In Whitmer’s proposed March budget, Michiganders would have seen three separate 15-cent motor fuel tax increases taking place from October 1, 2019 to October 1, 2020. The proposed tax revenue would have generated an estimated $2.5 billion in revenue to fix the worst-rated roads in America.

However, Chatfield is concerned that not all the tax revenue will go to roads.

“The biggest problem we have with road funding in our state is that not every penny paid in taxes at the pump is going to roads,” he said.

On August 15, Michigan House Republicans explained on Twitter why they consider the tax increase “destructive.”

“It hurts the working poor and people living on fixed incomes. Michigan could lose tens of thousands of jobs. The governor is ignoring the clear will of the people. Residents overwhelmingly don’t want a 45-cent gas tax hike,” the tweet read.

Whitmer told reporters on Monday she does not view the government shutdown as a “game.”

“I think the fact that there are people that would like to see a government shutdown frankly that are not serious about what it really is going to take to fix the problem. There are critical services that people rely on. I don’t view a shut down as a game. I don’t view it as something that is just a leverage point,” the governor said. “[some] legislators who would like to see that happen for political reasons. I think that’s the worst, it would be a terrible outcome.”

In 2015, Michigan passed a $1.2 billion road spending package.

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Zachery Schmidt is the digital editor of Battleground State NewsFollow Zachery on Twitter.




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