Lawmakers from both sides are reacting ahead of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s proposal to raise the gas tax fund road repairs.
The proposal, which the governor will introduce Tuesday in her budget briefing, will propose a 45 cent a gallon gas tax increase to be phased in “over three increments,” gradually raising it from 26 cents to 71 cents.
Republican State Representative Graham Filler, who represents Clinton and Gratiot Counties, says he does not believe Governor Whitmer’s proposal is a serious one.
“I view it as her starting a conversation. I think it’s her discussing ways to get new revenue,” he said.
Filler added he’s willing to have the conversation about how to bring more money in.
“But having the highest taxes on gas in the nation, I think is inappropriate,” he said. “She’s got to know that that’s maybe not realistic. So maybe this is just her buffer discussion, and then we’re going go hash it out at the Capitol.”
But Filler’s Democratic Colleague, Representative Julie Brixie, who represents part of Ingham County, says the State of Michigan put itself in this position by not solving its road problem sooner.
“The cost of doing nothing, which we’ve been operating on now for nearly 30 years, is very real,” she said.
Patrick DeHaan of gasbuddy.com tweeted if Governor Whitmer’s plan is fully implemented, drivers would spend an additional $270 per year, per vehicle.
But Brixie said that cost is less than what drivers spend on repairing cars damaged by potholes. She added she feels this plan will be different than the one passed in 2015, which raised the state’s gas tax and vehicle registration fees.
“The governor’s proposal is a bold one,” Brixie said. “The thing I like about it and the reason I’m happy to see it is it actually addresses the problem.”
Kathy Lone, a Lansing resident, said she’d be willing to pay the increased tax if it actually repairs roads.
“I feel like we’ve had tax increase after increase for the roads, and they don’t ever seem to get fixed,” she said.
Governor Whitmer is expected to make the proposal when she unveils her budget Tuesday. 6 News will be there, and will let you know what happens on air and online.