Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says she is looking for new revenue to fix the roads but the Senate Republican leader is not so sure the state needs more revenue for the roads.
That’s the opening salvo as lawmakers return to the State Capitol for the new legislative year.
Outside the State Capitol workers were dismantling the state Christmas tree while inside it was back to work for lawmakers and the governor who still wants to fix the roads with new revenue.
The governor is seriously looking at selling bonds to raise the cash for the roads but will she go there?
“We’ll see. You’ll have to stay tuned, Tim.”
Skubick: “That’s a “yes” to my question.”
Gov. Whitmer: “No. It’s not a yes.”
If the governor does propose selling bonds, she may not get a yes from the Senate Republican leader.
“Bonding is the last option on my list,” said Sen. Mike Shirkey. “Everything is on the table.”
The governor argues new revenue from somewhere is needed, but Mr. Shirkey counters.
Skubick: “So you would rather have a gas tax than a bonding plan?”
Sen. Shirkey: “I’m not so sure we need new revenue anyway.”
The governor won’t like that.
Over in the Republican Speaker’s office, Rep. Lee Chatfield will not commit to any new revenue either. His demand is to make sure the sales tax now collected at the pump goes into roads.
“I’m open to all options but we must first make sure the sales tax goes to the roads,” insists Rep. Chatfield.
Skubick: “If that is taken care of you would support a smaller gas tax hike? “
Rep. Chatfield: “All of the money at the pump has to go to the roads and that is the conversation right now.”
Complicating the road fix issue? Every member of the Michigan Hhouse is running for re-election this year and raising the gas tax, which was a hard sell last year, will be even harder this year.
SOT with greig
Skubick: “Everyone wants to get re-elected.”
Rep. Christine Greig: “Sure.”
Skubick: “And they don’t want to take a tough vote.”
Rep. Greig: “No.”
Skubick: “You’ve got about four months to do it.”
Rep. Greig: “We’ve got a short window.”
The next move is up to the governor, who is expected to release her Plan B road fix on January 29th.