LANSING, Mich. (WWJ/AP) - The Michigan House has approved a plan to shift hundreds of millions of dollars from the state's general fund and make other changes aimed at putting nearly $1.2 billion a year toward repairing the state's roads.
Most bills were approved primarily along party lines Wednesday in the Republican-controlled House.
"In short, the package burdens the poor, it punishes innovation while condoning complacency in the marketplace and ultimately we are robbing Peter to pay Paul," said Democrat Jon Hoadley of Kalamazoo, referring the elimination of the Earned Income Tax Credit. "Ultimately, if we are filling potholes at the expense of the poor - if we are working hard to burden electronic and and while not asking the heaviest trucks to pay their fair share. This is not a package that I can support."
The plan would raise the diesel tax to 19 cents from 15 cents to match the gas tax and index both taxes to inflation.
Registration fees would be raised by $30 on certain hybrid vehicles and by $100 on electric vehicles.
"The House road funding plan is the wrong direction for Michigan," said Doug Rothwell, Business Leaders for Michigan, president and CEO. "Michigan needs a permanent, long-term solution to increase road repair funding without raiding the General Fund and hurting other critical priorities that are important to our economy. The revenue should come from the users of our roads and bridges and be sufficient to ensure good quality road and bridge conditions. We look forward to working with the Senate on a solution that meets these thresholds."
"Is this package perfect, no it's not perfect. It's why we will continue to strive for perfect in Michigan," said
Republican Peter Pettalia of Presque Isle.
The Michigan League for Public Policy said in a statement that the passage of the bills is a tax on the poor and a further hardship for children in families which struggle financially.
"This was not a banner day for Michigan's children and families who were beat up in both the House and Senate.
"We are greatly disappointed in the representatives who voted to raise taxes on Michigan's most vulnerable working families, and we are fearful for the thousands of families who will be pushed into poverty as a result and the rest who will struggle to make ends meet."
In short, below are the 12 House Bills addressing the earmarking of $442 million from the general fund for roads in the fiscal year starting Oct. 1, 2015 --- a number which would increase to $792 million in the 2019 fiscal year.
HB 4605: Earmarks an income tax revenue portion of the general fund to the transportation fund.
HB 4606: Earmarks a portion of sales tax revenue to transportation fund.
HB 4607: Allows a certain amount of the 21st century jobs fund to be appropriated to the Michigan transportation fund.
HB 4608: Allows a certain amount of the Michigan strategic fund to be appropriated to the Michigan transportation fund.
HB 4609: Eliminates the earned income tax credit.
HB 4610: Provides for a requirement for competitive bidding by county road commissions on certain road projects involving townships.
HB 4611: Changes bidding requirements for contracts entered into by state transportation department and local road agencies and allows the department to borrow money from local road agencies.
HB 4612: Modifies vehicle registration fees.
HB 4613: Modifies replacement warranties on road repairs and extends the warranty requirement to local road agencies.
HB 4614: Includes a tax on motor fuel and alternative fuel in the streamlined sales and use tax revenue equalization act.
HB 4615: Modifies the motor fuel tax.
HB 4616: Eliminates the flat tax rate within the motor carrier fuel tax and establishes an 18-month limitation period for filing refund claims.
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