House Democrats Reject Republican Road Funding Plan

Public safety, education, health care put at risk while wealthy thrive
Tuesday, November 3, 2015

LANSING — House Democrats resoundingly rejected a roads plan that will head to Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk after passing the Republican-led Legislature on Tuesday. In the new plan, $400 million will come from a gas tax increase with $200 million coming from higher registration fees. The other half of the $1.2 billion needed will be found only by cutting needed services such as public safety, education and health care funding. The roads plan was voted out of the Senate on Tuesday afternoon after a week of vote gathering.

“Legislative Republicans have failed our state,” House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills) said. “The Republican proposal raises taxes on middle-class families, does nothing to lower truck weights, and drains funding from education and public safety. Even worse, it doesn’t even start fixing our roads until 2021.”

House Democrats rejected the plan because it is unsustainable and prioritizes tax breaks for the wealthy over funding for roads and critically important state programs. In particular, the Republican road funding plan:

  • Fails to identify where $800 million in funding cuts will be made, and fails to guarantee that public safety, education and health care funding will be protected.
  • Offers income tax breaks targeted at helping millionaires and billionaires, while leaving regular working families to shoulder the burden of program cuts and road funding.
  • Will only generation $425 million in the first year and $608 million in the second year of the $1.2 billion needed annually for road funding, and won’t reach $1.2 billion in annual funds until fiscal year 2021 – meaning Michigan’s roads will continue to deteriorate for years to come.

“It’s obvious that Legislative Republicans have other priorities besides protecting vital services and our communities,” said Rep. Marilyn Lane (D-Fraser), Democratic vice chairwoman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “It’s disappointing Republicans have taken this long to present a road funding plan that doesn’t even fully fix our crumbling roads and bridges for years. The fact this is going to the governor’s desk to be signed into law is shameful.”

House Democrats offered a more responsible plan that would have generated road funding through a mix of reprioritizing existing funding to go to road funding, reforming registration and closing costly registration loopholes and scaling back runaway tax breaks to corporations that have left middle-class families to bear the brunt of the state’s tax burden.