LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Lawmakers are discussing a couple of plans to collect new revenue to fix Michigan’s rotten roads — but nothing has been formally introduced to the legislature, and only three work days remain before it breaks for the summer.
Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R-Monroe) has been promoting a plan to raise the gas tax. Some of his fellow Republicans don’t like it.
“I can tell you that raising the gas tax will hurt the poor in this state tremendously,” Sen. Bruce Caswell (R-Hillsdale) said.
A second plan to raise the state’s sales tax to 7% — an additional penny — seems to have some support.
But whatever plan actually moves forward, Democrats took to the Senate floor Thursday to goad and prod the majority into action on something.
“If you can’t get something done, that’s ’cause you don’t want to — but don’t come blame us after the fact. Now if you want to step down from the majority and let us take over, that’s fine. But otherwise step up and do your job,” Sen. Coleman Young II (D-Detroit) said.
Richardville said that despite the lack of tangible results, the week was productive. When asked if the Senate was any closer to a solution Thursday than it had been Tuesday, he responded, “Yeah, I think so.”
“I think we’ve moved down the field fairly well, actually,” Richardville said.
When senators return to work on Tuesday, they could put forth a sort of hybrid plan that would put the 1% sales tax increase on the November ballot.
If approved by voters, the revenue from that extra 1% would be dedicated to roads. If voters reject the plan, the wholesale tax on gas would kick in. Either way, the state would be setting up a new source of revenue effective Jan. 1 to fix the roads.
But for either option to go into effect, the plan would be have to be written into a bill and agreed upon in both the state Senate and House in their three remaining session days before summer break.
If that doesn’t happen, lawmakers will have to keep working on a solution.