Should Michigan Raise Its Gas Tax by 47 Cents Per Gallon to Fund Road and Bridge Repairs?


DETROIT – Former Michigan lawmakers are pushing the state’s governor to implement what would be the most expensive gas tax in the United States.

The Michigan Consensus Policy Project, led by a bi-partisan coalition of ex-lawmakers, is calling for the state to enact what would ultimately be a 47-cents-per-gallon tax to fund road and bridge repairs. The proposal would raise Michigan’s gas tax by five cents annually for nine years, including another two-cent tax in the first year.

The proposal would be in addition to Michigan’s current gas tax, which is set at 26.3 cents per gallon. If implemented, the total tax would top at 73.3 cents in nine years’ time — making it the highest rate in the country.

Bob Emerson — a former Democratic state Senate Minority Leader and one of the backers of the campaign — said the gas tax is best approach to funding Michigan roads because it “closely correlates to the amount of driving people do,” according to The Detroit News.

Average families in Michigan would see a considerable cut in the take home pay if the tax is implemented, with middle-income, two-vehicle households estimated to pay an extra $400-plus a year under the plan.

“There’s no question there’s a need, and no question about the importance of this,” said Ken Sikkema, a former GOP state Senate Majority Leader, explaining the need to fix Michigan’s roads and bridges. “It’s our hope that this proposal jump starts that important conversation.”

The goal of The Michigan Consensus Project is to push Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the state’s Republican-led legislature to enact the 47-cent gas tax increase, which is estimated to generate upwards of $2.7 billion a year in extra revenue for the state’s transportation system. The campaign comes as Whitmer is expected to unveil her first budget presentation in March. The New Democratic governor, while she hasn’t yet voiced support for the proposal, has expressed strong interest to “fix the damn roads” in Michigan.

Beyond the unlikeliness of such an exorbitant tax making it through the GOP-controlled legislature in Michigan, energy taxes have proven to be unpopular at a national and international level.

Voters in Washington State, for example, soundly rejected a carbon tax proposal in November for the second time. It was the second time voters in the deep-blue state voted against implementing a tax on carbon emissions. Across the Atlantic, French protesters have rioted over President Emmanuel Macron’s attempt to raise gas and diesel taxes. The backlash ultimately forced Macros to withdraw the proposal altogether.

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