Skubick: Governor, lawmakers at odds over road repair money

Michigan

Michigan lawmakers return to the State Capitol for the 2020 legislative session and they begin the year with a major disagreement between the governor and the Republican Speaker of the House.  

Gov. Whitmer says she had a commitment from the two Republican leaders to raise the gas tax to fix the roads.

Speaker Rep. Lee Chatfield says the governor’s got that all wrong.  

So the new year begins with a major disagreement.

The dispute begins last May on Mackinac Island where Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the two Republican leaders, Senator Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield were jubilant over her signature on the no-fault car insurance package.

Over the holidays at the executive residence, the governor discloses for the first time that after she helped them on their no-fault plan, they pledged to help her with a gas tax hike to fix the roads.

Skubick: “Did they say to you, yes we’re going to support some sort of a gas tax increase?”

Gov. Whitmer: “No one ever said we’re going to support a 45 cent gas tax increase but they thought they would be able to support some sort of a gas tax increase.”

She reports the Speaker said “maybe” to the gas tax if the sales tax at the pump was redirected to roads.  

“They had their own conditions but everyone signaled, especially at that time, this was next up and we were going to find some common ground on this,” explained the governor.

Not so. The Speaker saw that interview and, from Petoskey, his office issued this statement refuting the governor’s claim.

“What she said isn’t true.  The only commitment was to discuss roads after no-fault was done.”

Speaker Chatfield’s office

She said, he said.

Some would say not the best way to start the new legislative year.  

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