We all agree that we need better roads in Michigan, but we don’t agree on how we pay for them. With the various strains on the state budget, including a shortfall due to outstanding business tax credits and an increasingly overreliance on federal funds, it’s hard to imagine a proposal that fixes our roads, invests in our schools and local communities, and protects Michigan’s lowest earners.
Proposal 1 meets these objectives while any “Plan B” likely would increase road funding at the detriment of our schools, communities and vulnerable families.
Next Tuesday, voters will decide whether to back Proposal 1, a comprehensive, bipartisan plan or to take a chance with the new Legislature. There is a lot of frustration surrounding Proposal 1 for several reasons. Some people say “it’s too complicated” or “the Legislature punted the issue.” Yes, it is complicated and for good reason: A long-term, structural fix to fund our roads into the future has a lot of moving pieces that must be addressed. It can’t be simple.
But no, legislators did not punt the issue. They devised this plan that must be approved by voters. Raising Michigan’s sales tax requires a ballot proposal.
While Proposal 1 may not be perfect—no policy is—this is pretty good, and quite possibly, the best solution to all of our problems. Proposal 1 contains many benefits:
- It removes the sales tax from gas purchases while increasing the gas tax to ensure that all of our taxes paid on gas go to support the roads.
- It changes our flat tax rate to one based on the wholesale cost of gas helping it keep up with inflation so that the tax doesn’t lose its purchasing power and making funds more stable in the long-run.
- Eliminating the sales tax on gas, which primarily supports schools and communities, means the sales tax must be increased to prevent cuts to schools and local governments.
- Increasing the sales tax has the potential to hit the lowest earners the most; therefore, with the passage of Proposal 1, the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit would significantly increase from 6% to 20% to help offset the sales tax increase.
The Legislature has given the public a voice in deciding how to fund improvements to our quickly deteriorating and unsafe roads. We cannot sacrifice the possible for the perfect. Every day we wait to find a road funding solution, the costs go up for taxpayers.
Support for Proposal 1 is support for better roads, better schools, and better local communities to create a state where people will want to live, work, and play.
– Alicia Guevara Warren