LANSING –- State Representative Sarah Roberts (D-St. Clair Shores) voted in support of a plan to raise money to fix Michigan’s crumbling roads and bridges, provide more funds for local communities and create tax relief for Michigan voters, while also guaranteeing constitutionally protected money for Michigan’s schools. The plan is based on a ballot proposal that raises the state’s sale tax from 6 percent to 7 percent, eliminates the sales tax on gas, and raises the overall sale tax one penny. The question will be put before the voters in May 2015.
“This bipartisan agreement allows Michigan residents to have a say in how we should fund fixing our roads,” said Roberts. “A vote in favor of this plan next May will also protect our schools and local communities from losing funding when the sales tax on gas is eliminated. This is a good plan that fixes our roads as well as increases funding for schools and local government services that we all rely on.” With voter approval, it would raise $1.3 billion over four years while eliminating the sales tax on fuel and transitioning to a tax on the wholesale price. Some of the money raised would go to schools and local government to replace lost revenue from the repeal of the gas tax. Voter approval would also trigger the following effects:
• Fully restoring the Earned Income Tax Credit, taking it back to 20 percent of the federal credit for a total credit of $277 million.
• An addition of $300 million to the School Aid Fund and that funding would be protected under the constitution so that it would only go for PreK-12 schools and community colleges.
• $40 million for at-risk schools.
• $94 million in additional funding for local units of government.
• Additional funding for mass transit, taking more cars off the road and lessening the need for further road repairs.
• Increase the fees on trucks weighing more than 26,000 pounds and require warranties on any road work.
• Commit to hiring more minority and women workers in the construction industry.
“Michigan’s economic growth depends on educating our students so that companies know they’ll have good workers to fill their jobs, providing good roads and infrastructure so businesses can move their products easily, and ensuring that our communities can offer the services like police and fire protections that businesses and families want,” said Roberts. “This roads plan hits all of those points and will help keep our economy growing. It also gives the power the people by allowing them to decide if this is the plan they like. I’m proud to vote for it today, and I’ll be proud to vote for it on the ballot next May.”