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Bill Would Ensure More Gas Tax Money Goes To Roads
Michigan Capitol Confidential ^ | 2/10/2013 | Jack Spencer

Posted on 02/11/2013 7:10:09 PM PST by MichCapCon

Legislation has been introduced that would ensure that a portion of the motor fuel tax available for discretionary use is counted toward the $1.2 billion Gov. Rick Snyder wants for road funding.

Senate Bill 6, sponsored by Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, would earmark $100 million, or possibly more, to transportation funding in the 2013 budget.

"The intent of my bill is to make sure the portion of dollars our taxpayers and vehicle drivers pay at the pump, which is not constitutionally mandated to go elsewhere, will be used for our roads and transportation infrastructure," Sen. Proos said. "I'm convinced that most of the constituents in my district believe that's how it should be used.

"We're estimating that it would be about 9 percent of the $1.2 billion the governor is asking for," he said. "It could bring in as much as $130 million to $140 million annually. Obviously that will vary, depending on pump prices and some other factors."

Gov. Snyder said during his State of the State speech that road and infrastructure spending would be a priority this year. He is expected to release a roads plan soon.

Sen. Proos said some of the gas tax money has been going into the state's general fund and then, later, used for transportation, so the state can qualify for federal matching funds. He said he thinks that could happen again, but the purpose of Senate Bill 6 is to lock the funding in place to make sure it doesn't get used for anything other than transportation.

Earmarking that portion of the fuel sales tax for roads ahead of time would clearly identify the funding as transportation dollars. In addition, Sen Proos said, it should help simplify the often confusing process of doing the annual transportation budget.

"For years now we've ended up cobbling together dollars to get the federal match," he said. "It's really not a very good way of doing it. Under my bill, we'd be saying from the start, this money is going toward transportation.

"A lot of people don't realize that much of the sales tax on fuel is constitutionally mandated for specific uses. But the 40 percent that's not constitutionally mandated elsewhere should go to transportation."

The Snyder administration's reaction to Senate Bill 6 was less than enthusiastic.

"The governor is interested in having a broad discussion on transportation funding and coming up with solutions that will provide the necessary funding to maintain and improve the state's infrastructure," said Caleb Buhs, spokesman for the governor's office. "Rather than taking a piecemeal approach, it is time to look at comprehensive solutions and take the necessary actions."

Mackinac Center for Public Policy Fiscal Policy Director Michael LaFaive said more road funding dollars are needed. But he added that some approaches to getting the money are preferable to others.

"The roads need improvement," LaFaive said. "It is about time the state made it a priority. Raising taxes and fees associated with road use is smarter tax policy than say, a personal income tax increase. Any tax and fee increases, however, should be offset with spending and tax cuts elsewhere."

TOPICS: Business/Economy
KEYWORDS: government; taxes

1 posted on 02/11/2013 7:10:19 PM PST by MichCapCon
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To: MichCapCon
All I've seen for 40 years is the constant rebuilding of I-94. There's hardly been more than a couple of years at a time without major construction delays. MI with the 160,000 # trucks and winter daily freeze thaw cycles doesn't design the roads correctly.

Not another dime.

2 posted on 02/11/2013 7:13:58 PM PST by Paladin2
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To: Springman; Sioux-san; 70th Division; JPG; PGalt; DuncanWaring; taildragger; epluribus_2; Chuck54; ..
Any we thought tax and spend Grangholm was gone.

If anyone wants to be added to the Michigan Cap Con ping list, let me know.
3 posted on 02/11/2013 7:17:17 PM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: Paladin2

They’ve already got a plan to strip something like 8% off the top of the new tax generated revenue for bike and hiking trail maintenance. Just like big government on a slightly smaller scale.

4 posted on 02/11/2013 7:25:17 PM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: MichCapCon

Given Michigan’s population density, there’s no way MI needs to have The Highest State Tax on gasoline and Diesel usage. It’s bad enough that there is a 6% sales tax on top of the $/gallon take.

5 posted on 02/11/2013 7:27:28 PM PST by Paladin2
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