During the recently concluded lame duck session, Governor Snyder and Michigan Legislators failed to shift state funding to fix our roads. Our elected politicians would not consider rebalancing state spending to address our chronic road problems.
Rather than make the tough decisions, our glorious leaders put forward a proposal which would purportedly fix our state roads by tinkering with our State Constitution. On May 5, 2015 Michigan voters will go to the polls to vote on this tax increase of $1.9 billion (of which only $1.2 billion goes to roads). Not only is this an unneeded increase, it is also a permanent increase which is baked into our State Constitution.
With state spending up by nearly 10% since Republicans took control of Lansing, one wonders why our elected officials couldn't have earmarked a portion of this toward our top priority. Since 2010 annual state spending has increased by more than enough to cover the cost of road repair.
Below is a series of articles which capture the essence of the debate about road funding. You’ll see that Michigan drivers having been paying the 6th highest overall tax rate on gasoline, yet our road quality is ranked 32nd. You’ll also see that state spending has gone up by more than enough to cover the cost of road repair. And lastly, you’ll see that household incomes in Michigan have been on the decline, while government spending has been on the rise. Something is wrong with this picture!
Your NO vote on May 5 tells Lansing to fix our roads by rebalancing our spending. Doing more with less is something Michigan families have been doing for quite some time.
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If Sales Tax is Passed, Michigan Would Have the Second Highest in the U.S.
“If Michigan voters approve a proposed sales tax increase that will be on the ballot, it would give Michigan the second-highest state sales tax in the country, trailing only California.”
And, to set the record straight, the R's and D's in Lansing falsely claim that hiking our state sales tax from 6% to 7% is just a 1% increase in taxes. WRONG! It is a 16.7% increase.
Lansing doesn't deserve a 16.7% raise for doing a poor job maintaining our roads. If Lansing would take a look I'm sure they could rebalance the current budget, finding 2-3% to dedicate to roads.
Despite GOP Dominance, Michigan Budget Keeps Growing by Billions
“However, in four years of Republican governance under Gov. Rick Snyder with GOP majorities in both the House and Senate, state spending from state taxes and fees has increased by $2.7 billion. The overall budget (including federal dollars) has spiked by $4.7 billion.”
The $2.7 billion increase in annual state spending could have easily covered the cost of road repair in Michigan.
State Budget Has Increased Almost $5 Billion the Past Three Years
“The state has appropriated $53.12 billion for 2014-15. The overall state budget was $48.42 billion in 2011-12, then increased to $48.55 billion in 2012-13 and is at $51.15 billion this year, according to the Senate Fiscal Agency. Those figures include federal dollars. For the 2014-15 budget that has been proposed, $21.73 billion is federal money.”
Taxpayer Cost for Road Fix 'Compromise' Went from $0 to $1.9 Billion
“The Michigan Senate’s plan to find more money for road repairs was a $1.2 billion gas and diesel tax increase.
The State House’s response was to shift some current state tax revenue to roads, with no net tax increase.
Leaders from both sides came up with a "compromise," which was adopted in the predawn hours of Dec. 19: Increase state taxes and spending by $1.9 billion, of which just $1.2 billion goes to fix the roads, and the rest for other areas.”
Are Lansing Politicians squandering our tax dollars?
In 2009 the State of Michigan had the 13th highest tax on gasoline. Today our state has increased to the 6th highest taxes on gasoline.
Why is it that Michigan has some of the worst roads in the nation? With the 6th highest tax we should have the 6th best roads, right?
In fact, Michigan is ranked 32nd in terms of road quality. It is clear that Michigan is not getting the proper return on taxpayer funded road maintenance.
Median household income has declined from 2010 to 2013
In 2005 the median household income in Michigan was $54,936. In 2010 it was $48,519. In 2013 it was $48,273.
The bottom line is that for over a decade incomes in Michigan have been on the decline, yet government spending continues to rise. Government needs to learn to live within its means.
It is not unreasonable to ask Lansing to cut back on the niceties and focus on the necessities; Michigan families having been doing just that for over a decade.