Skubick: Lawmakers square off over unreleased road funding plans

Michigan

Senate Republicans are accusing Democrats of being afraid to introduce the governor’s gas tax increase, while the Senate Democrats are telling the Republicans, if you don’t like the governor’s plan, show us yours. 

It’s just the latest chapter in the back and forth on how to fix the roads.

The governor is roaming the state trying to drum up support for her 45 cent a gallon gas tax hike.

While back in the state Senate, Republicans are arguing if her gas tax is such a great idea, why hasn’t any Democrat introduced the proposal?

“They ought to put up or shut up,” said Sen. Tom Barrett. “Not one single Democrat is willing to introduce the gas tax hike. We have told the governor it is dead on arrival but no Democrat has put his name on a bill to show there is no support for the governor’s 45 cent tax hike.”

Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. answers that with “I think Tom knows he’s being facetious.”

Sen. Hertel says it takes time to get the budget moving.
“Tom knows how the budget process works,” adds the Democrat Sen. hertel. “That’s not fair to make that charge. The governor’s budget has to be drafted and he is well aware of that.”

Meanwhile, the Senate Democrats are saying, neither the Republican House Speaker Mr. Chatfield
or the Senate Republican leader Mike Shirkey have released their plan.

So just do it, insists Sen. Hertel. “Show us your plan. Let the people of Michigan see it.”

The Senate Republican leader says he will show the plan in early summer and it will not be tied to the budget.

Sen. Mike Shirkey: “The road package will be separate from the budget and the Senate will have a very specific proposal for that in early summer.”

Skubick: “Early summer?”

Sen. Shirkey: “Early summer. We’ve got a lot of research to do.”

“I don’t understand how you can write a budget without dealing with roads because the road plan effects the budget,” adds Sen. Hertel.

Meanwhile, there is some internal chatter in the House Republican caucus that it might allow a vote on the governor’s gas tax and perhaps it will go down in flames.

Everyone agrees more money is needed for the roads, but the consensus on how to raise, remains elusive.

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