Skubick: Has governor’s gas tax hike vaporized?

Michigan

State lawmakers are expected to put the finishing touches on restoring about $500 million dollars in state services into the budget.

But the governor’s call for a gas hike is nowhere to be found. 

The governor unveiled her unprecedented 45 cent a gallon gas tax hike on March 4th, 280 days ago.

Today the increase is right where it started: nowhere.

It’s not that the governor didn’t try.

At one point she even picked up what looked like some support from the Senate Republican leader who told reporters in a February 13th news conference that the governor was right and new revenue would be needed.

“There’s no way we’re going to fix this problem that has been 50 years in the making without coming up with new revenue for infrastructure,” said Sen. Mike Shirkey.

But then she and the two Republican legislative leaders got hopelessly bogged down in an ugly fight over the budget and her gas tax hike was slapped on hold.

Recently the Republican House Speaker declared the governor’s plan dead for this year.

The Republican chair of the House Budget committee confirmed that for

local lawmaker Rep. Julie Brixie in the Capitol parking lot last week.

“He said that to me that we would be revisiting that topic, clearly not this year,” said Rep. Brixie. “Next year. It’s a disappointment to me.”

And a huge setback for the governor who faces an even tougher sell job next year because the Michigan House is up for re-election and if the Republicans would not back a gas tax this year, what are the chances they’ll bend to the governor’s wishes next year when their jobs are on the line?

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