DETROIT (WWJ) - It's a controversial -- and complicated plan. Voters will head to the polls May 5th to decide the fate of Proposal One. It calls for raising the wholesale gas tax and certain fees to fund road repairs and other transportation projects. The proposal would also raise the state sales tax from 6 to 7 cents.
Gilda Jacobs, the President and CEO of Michigan League for Public Policy supports the idea.
"Our roads and bridges are seriously and dangerously broken," said Jacobs. "A third of our roads are considered poor - they are cost Michiganders an average of $357 dollars per driver."
But Paul Mitchell, the head of the "Coalition Against Higher Taxes and Special Interest Deals" says it is a bad plan.
"Even in its best year - 40 percent goes to nothing related to the roads - it doesn't repair our roads," said Mitchell. "When we talk about safe roads we are talking about spending on a whole series of other things. Our sales tax is increased by almost 17 percent; it goes from 6 to 7 percent - our fuel taxes actually go up. We call them something different - we get rid of the sales tax and we call it a wholesale fuel tax."
Former State Representative Tom McMillin is the Chairman of "Concerned Taxpayers of Michigan" -- and says -- the plan is a mess.
"It is a very confusing proposal, if it passes 46,000 words go into effect, go into law, 10 seperate bills on the average family of four is going to pay an extra $800 per year."
But Brad Williams, the Vice President of Government Relations for the Detroit Regional Chamber says this is the best option to fix the roads.
"When you talk to Michigan voters and Michigan motorists they know the conditions are roads are in - they are deployable and they have to get better. And a 'yes' vote on Proposal 1 is the way to get that done," said Williams.
The panel appeared on a WWJ Newsradio during a News Special Tuesday night.
THE FOLLOWING STATEWIDE BALLOT PROPOSAL WILL APPEAR ON THE MAY 5, 2015 SPECIAL ELECTION BALLOT PROPOSAL 15-1
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:
o Increase sales / use tax to 7%, as authorized by constitutional
o Increase gasoline / diesel fuel tax and adjust annually for inflation,
increase vehicle registration fees, and dedicate revenue for roads and
other transportation purposes.
o Expand competitive bidding and warranties for road projects.
o Increase earned income tax credit.
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