Voters Or Lawmakers: Who Should Decide Road Tax Issue? - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Voters Or Lawmakers: Who Should Decide Road Tax Issue?

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LANSING, MI (WLNS) - A new proposal complicates efforts to raise 1.5 billion dollars to fix the roads and it may shift the issue to the November ballot.

A conservative lawmaker thinks the voters of Michigan should decide this issue and not lawmakers.

But as we learn from 6 News Capitol Correspondent Tim Skubick, the governor and others do not agree.

Macomb County republican senator Jack Brandenberg wants nothing to do with the senate republican leader’s plan to phase in a $1.5 billion fix for the roads.

"If we go with a wholesale tax increase from 6 to 15 and a half percent in three years, you're talking a 40 cent increase in a gallon of gas,” said State Senator Jack Brandenburg (r), Macomb County.

Reporter: "You don't think your folks will buy it?

Senator Brandenburg: “No, absolutely not, I will not buy it.”

Instead Mr. Brandenburg wants to place a one penny increase in the state sales tax on the November ballot and if the voters say yes, it would raise $1.2 billion for the roads.

The only problem is, some of the key players in this elongated debate don't want to wait for a statewide vote.

The governor argues, let’s do it now.

"Let’s get something done, let’s get a solution in place and then say if further discussion leads us to other options that may include the ballot then that could always be done at a later date,” said Governor Rick Snyder.

The senate republican leader agrees. He contends, after his package is adopted, there could be a vote of the citizens later on.

Plus he argues the increase that Mr. Brandenburg is talking about is simply not true.

"And it's not 20, 30, 40 cents it's about six cents so in the middle of next winter you will see a hit of somewhere around six cents but because we did that we'll be able to bond against that future funding and start fixing the roads now,” said senate republican leader, Randy Richardville.

While the republicans go back and forth on what to do, the senate democratic leader checks in.

Reporter: "Are you ready to vote on Randy's package?

“No," said senate democratic leader, Gretchen Whitmer.

Ms. Whitmer is withholding her support, hoping to get something in return for her constituents, such as the earned income tax credit.

"We've got still a lot of concerns about this, this is an enormous investment, one that a lot of us feel it's time to make, but we've got to have assurances that there are protections for people at the lower end of the social-economics scale, said senate democratic leader Gretchen Whitmer.

The governor and four legislative leaders will try to hammer out a deal on the roads with a vote perhaps this week.
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