Skubick: Governor pitches gas tax hike; GOP lawmakers don’t slam door

Michigan

As expected, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer asked state lawmakers today to hike the state gas tax to 71 cents a gallon within in the next 18 months and while Republicans were not embracing the idea, it is significant that they did not declare it dead on arrival. 

Tim Skubick: “Did you hear any Republicans declare this dead on arrival?”

Gov. Whitmer: “I did not hear that.”

The governor’s team realizes asking a Republican legislature to boost the gas tax by 45 cents a gallon is a heavy lift but with key lawmakers the door remained open ever so slightly.

Skubick: “So you will not say it is DOA?”

Rep. Shane Hernandez: “It’s got a very rough road ahead of it and for me I would say it is a difficult path.”

It was pretty much the same message from the Senate Republican budget chair Jim Stamas.  “There may need to be some new revenue down the road and I don’t know what it is today.”

Former budget director Robet Emerson is one of the architects of the governor’s gas tax hike and he’s a veteran of many legislative wars over taxes.

With no one declaring it dead “that’s an absolute plus,” said Emerson. “They could have said this was going nowhere but they didn’t.”

Skubick: “So the door is open?”

Emerson: “Yes.”

The goveror knows she does not have the votes today to increase gax taxes which would cost you about $275 a year and for needy families it would be much less.

In ten years the governor believes 90 percent of the roads in Michigan will be good or fair.

Right now the figure is 78 percent.

She warns the state can’t do nothing despite the heavy political lift.

“This isnt easy,” said Gov. Whitmer. “This isn’t something I like to do but we are looking at 40 years of disinvestment and we are behind what other states are doing.”

Day One on the toughest sell of her political career, convicing Republicans that they should help her fulfil a campaign promise to fix the “blank” roads.

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