Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson writes:
“There are a lot of opinions these days about the ballot proposal on roads. Some people say it’s the only way to stop our teeth-rattling commutes. Others believe the Legislature should have given us better options. But what are the cold, hard facts?
“On May 5, we will go to the polls to vote on Proposal 1 to decide whether to embrace a sales tax increase that could help fix our roads, or to continue the dangerous bumpity-bumping that has become an almost cliched tale of life here in Michigan. The bills we are voting on are complex - they do about 10 different things - and the result - well, it depends on whom you ask. It will raise about a billion dollars we don’t have right now. But will it actually be spent to fix our roads - that’s a matter of whether you trust our legislature and Governor Rick Snyder. There is a lot of strong individual opposition to Proposal 1 - just read my email box if you need to see it - but there is also a broad spectrum of groups, from business interests to laboratory and teachers - working to get it passed.”
The Citizens Reseach Council of Michigan is a straight-forward, no-nonsense think-tank that provides deeply researched analyses of important electoral questions like Proposal 1. You can read their report on Prop 1 here.
Here’s the official ballot language:
A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION TO INCREASE THE SALES/USE TAX FROM 6% TO 7%. TO REPLACE AND SUPPLEMENT REDUCED REVENUE TO THE SCHOOL AID FUND AND LOCAL UNITS OF GOVERNMENT CAUSED BY THE ELIMINATION OF THE SALES/USE TAX ON GASOLINE AND DIESEL FUEL FOR VEHICLES OPERATING ON PUBLIC ROADS, AND TO GIVE EFFECT TO LAWS THAT PROVIDE ADDITIONAL MONEY FOR ROADS AND OTHER TRANSPORTATION PURPOSES BY INCREASING THE GAS TAX AND VEHICLE REGISTRATION FEES.
The proposed constitutional amendment would:
■ Eliminate sales / use taxes on gasoline / diesel fuel for vehicles on public roads.
■ Increase portion of use tax dedicated to School Aid Fund (SAF).
■ Expand use of SAF to community colleges and career / technical education, and prohibit use for 4-year colleges / universities.
■ Give effect to laws, including those that: Increase sales / use tax to 7%, as authorized by constitutional amendment; Increase gasoline / diesel fuel tax and adjust annually for inflation, increase vehicle registration fees, and dedicate revenue for roads and other transportation purposes; Expand competitive bidding and warranties for road projects; Increase earned income tax credit.
Should this proposal be adopted? Yes or No.