LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Republican-led Legislature on Wednesday will start voting to freeze, for six months, Michigan’s 27.2-cents-a-gallon gasoline and diesel taxes amid pump prices that exceed $4 per gallon.
GOP leaders announced the plan a day after Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer urged Congress to suspend the 18.4-cents-a-gallon federal gas tax and 24.4-cent diesel tax. Her office has not embraced temporarily halting state fuel taxes, saying it would hamper road repairs.
“This is a serious situation that requires more than letter writing and the magnanimous gesture of asking someone else to foot the bill,” Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, a Clarklake Republican, said in a statement that said many Michiganders are living paycheck to paycheck. “Republicans in the Legislature will again vote to help residents keep more of what they earn, but we need the governor to lead instead of abdicating her responsibilities to Washington.”
The legislation to pause the taxes through September would save drivers approximately $750 million.
The federal legislation would transfer general funds so transportation funding to states is not cut. Gideon D’Assandro, spokesperson for House Speaker Jason Wentworth, said lawmakers would move to offset the loss of state fuel tax revenue that pays for road and bridge maintenance if the governor signs the measure.
Michigan currently has a multibillion-dollar budget surplus.