Reps. Applaud Deal to Raise Funding for Roads
LANSING –- State Representatives Gretchen Driskell (D-Saline), David Rutledge (D-Ypsilanti) and Adam F. Zemke(D-Ann Arbor) are proud to have voted in support of a plan to raise money to fix Michigan’s crumbling roads and bridges while also guaranteeing tax relief for Michigan’s families and constitutionally protected money for Michigan’s schools. Under the plan, voters would decide on a ballot proposal that would raise the state sales and use tax from 6 to 7 percent to benefit public schools and eliminate the sales tax on motor fuel.
“I support the proposal because it funds Michigan transportation systems, both transit and roads, while increasing funding for schools, and restoring the Earned Income Tax Credit,” said Rep. Driskell, member of the House Transportation Committee. “I am glad that after two years of working on this issue, we have a proposal that accomplishes these goals.”
“In a season now known for petty politics and poor policy, I am proud to vote for a bipartisan agreement. This is how we earn the trust the voters put in us,” Rep. Rutledge said. “We finally have a proposal that helps drivers and invests in schools. I am especially proud to secure, with the support of my colleagues, an additional $40 million for at-risk schools, on top of the $300 million increase to the School Aid Fund this proposal offers.”
Legislators scheduled the sales tax increase for a vote in May 2015. With voter approval, it would raise $1.3 billion over four years while eliminating the sales tax on fuel and transitioning to a tax on the wholesale price. Some of the money raised would go to schools and local government to replace lost revenue from the repeal of the gas tax. Voter approval would also trigger the following effects:
• Full restoration of the Earned Income Tax Credit, taking it back to 20 percent of the federal credit for a total credit of $277 million.
• An additional $300 million would go into the School Aid Fund and that funding would be protected under the constitution so that it would only go for PreK-12 schools through community colleges.
• $40 million for at-risk schools.
• $94 million in additional funding for local units of government.
• Additional funding for mass transit, taking more cars off the road and lessening the need for further road repairs.
• Increase the fees on trucks weighing more than 26,000 pounds and requiring warranties on any road work.
• Commit to hiring more minority and women workers in the construction industry.
“Today’s agreement is a solid and fair compromise to solve our systemic road problems,” said Rep. Zemke. “This will allow us to improve our roads, provide tax relief to working families and invest in local communities and schools. We can be proud that we invested in Michigan’s economy today.”