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In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Fwd: 16 Years and Counting

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Tue, Jan 12, 2010 7:36 am
Subject: 16 Years and Counting

  The scene was an MDOT garage.  And in walks then Gov. John Engler who takes his place in front of a giant snow plow to announce his support for a four penny hike in the state gasoline tax.
    It was historic on two counts.  Engler was loathed to support anything that had a "tax increase" label on it and for the money-thirsty road building industry, it was the last time they got a hike in road revenue.
    Fast forward to this new legislative year where hope abounds that lawmakers will end the 16 year drought and cough up some new money.
    The Michigan Infrastructure Coalition, which is just a fancy smancy name for the road builders and friends, wanted this last year because this year everybody is running for something. But the hopes of 2009 quickly gave way to the reality that senate Republicans were in no mood to raise any tax on anything.
    With about a three month window to get something done this year, it has come down to the a numbers game in the state senate.  20 votes are required and each party has agreed to provide ten votes to do it.
    It appears the democrats can deliver but word has it, they are three votes short in the slightly more conservative GOP caucus where the leader Mike Bishop concedes the "shape of the roads is dangerous."
    Word is the gas tax or some other mechanism may be rolled into the governor's Grand Bargain package of reforms and other tax goodies.
    There is consternation in the pro-gas tax camp.  On one hand if you are in  a bigger Omnibus bill with lots of controversial unrelated items, the whole thing could blow up in smoke.
    On the other, allowing a single vote on just the gas tax puts it out there as a sitting duck for everyone to nibble at resulting in defeat anyway.
    Either way the road lobby wants the money but so far it has a goose egg and unless three more GOP senators get on board, the lobby will have to continue to live on the fond memories of 1994 when a governor and legislature actually did what the road guys wanted.


Blogger Eric said...

I am hard pressed to support a road tax INCREASE at this time. Seems to me Obama's stimulus provided ample funds for the road builders lobby. Simply too much greed in that industry. Check out the intersection at Coolidge and Wattles in Troy. About five years ago it was completely rebuilt. It is a crumbling mess now. The public was cheated again. Until the road lobby stops cheating the public, NO NEW TAXES!!!!

January 12, 2010 at 5:54 AM 
Anonymous Dr. Dave said...

I agree with Eric, where are stimulus dollars, the shovel ready projects??? NO NEW TAXES!!!!

January 12, 2010 at 10:25 PM 
Anonymous Helz said...

Many (some would say "all")Michigan roads are in varying degrees of bad shape. The current gas tax is woefully insufficient to pay for basic road maintenance, let alone expansions, bridge repairs, and so on.

Federal stimulus dollars are going for specific targeted projects, or can be used to "prime the pump" to get things rolling. But fed dollars in no way replace the need for the state to do its part.

Our bad roads are a national joke -- one that drives away potential businesses (with their jobs and tax revenues).

Finally, the actual impact of, say, an extra $0.05/gallon tax would barely be felt (< $1 per fill-up for anything but the bigger trucks and SUVs). In any given week the price fluctuates MORE than that, just because of normal supply/demand.

January 14, 2010 at 4:07 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Helz, stop trying to be logical. NO NEW TAXES, THE WORLD IS CORRUPT, NO NO NO NEVER NEVER NEVER. If the Michigan Chamber of Commerce itself cannot get through to GOP Senate, no reasoning will do. Never mind that the Chamber labels investment on infrastructure "user fees" and therefor supports increases in gas taxes AND increases in vehicle registration fees. Wait until the REST of Troy roads finally start to go, and good ol' Brooksie starts doing PSAs for support of increases on transportation spending (BTW Oakland Co Roads supports the bills).

January 14, 2010 at 9:14 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Anonymous. You miss the point. Clean up the waste, the corruption, the road builders cheating the public with poor construction, then talk about raising taxes. Oh, user "fees" (=revenues=TAXES=Democrat spin language). What about the truckers that run double the federal load limit (80 tons vs 40 tons) on Michigan roads?

January 16, 2010 at 8:36 AM 

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