In January, a three-bill package to raise the tax on gasoline was introduced in the State House of Representatives. The Bills; HB5768, HB5769, and HB5770 were introduced to increase revenue in the transportation fund. There is currently a predicted deficit of around $3 billion in transportation revenue, these Bills were created to close some of the gap in funds. The first two House Bills increase the tax on gasoline for both regular and diesel fuels. They implement a hike in the price per-gallon gas tax from $.19 to $.23 in 2010, and then up to $.27 in 2013. With diesel fuel it increases the tax rate from $.15 per gallon to $.21 in 2010, and also up to $.27 in 2013. Together these increased rates are estimated to raise around $240 million annually in the beginning, and up to $480 million when the 2013 rates begin. [Read More].
HB 5770 specifically deals with the appropriations for the increased revenue from the gas and diesel tax hikes. It states that the revenue will be directly deposited into a Transportation Investment Fund, which will be protected; other areas of the state budget may not take from. The fund allocates 10% of the revenue going to subsidies for municipal busing and other transit services, with the remaining 90% going to state and local road authorities. House Bill 5770 was introduced in the Michigan State House of Representatives on January 26, 2010, and was referred to the Committee on Transportation, where it currently remains along with its counterparts, HB5768 and HB5769.
These three Bills have been introduced with bi-partisan support. Of the eight representatives who co-sponsored the legislation, two are republican reps, with Rep. Richard Ball (R-Bennington Twp) being very outspoken and in support of these tax increases. Because the Republican Party is usually against any and all tax increases, it is unusual to see bi-partisan support, especially in such a large tax hike. The end result, after all, would almost double the current tax rate on fuel. Rep. Ball, in a press release stated, “Michigan’s infrastructure is at a critical juncture…These increases will allow our state, counties and cities to make the critical repairs our roads and bridges need, while also ensuring we can put forth the matching funds necessary for federal dollars.” Co-sponsor, Rep. Pam Byrnes (D-Chelsea) in the same press release comments on the bi-partisan support, adding that “The poor quality of Michigan roads and bridges has already passed the crisis stage…This is neither a Republican nor Democrat issue. This is a Michigan issue – an issue of doing what’s right for Michigan drivers, businesses and taxpayers.”
The package is receiving support and opposition from interest groups. The Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association (MITA) has come out and said that they fully support the legislation. They also anticipate an increase in the vehicle registration fee to help raise even more revenue. Michigan’s Campaign for Liberty has come out against a tax hike on gasoline and is attempting to show their opposition by attending the town hall meetings scheduled in February and March in which these proposed Bills will be discussed.
Will these proposed tax hikes be voted on? Because of the bi-partisan support, it is possible that this three-bill package will be brought out of the Committee of Transportation. Because it is an election year, however, it is likely that the vote will be delayed until after November. Bill Nowling, a spokesman for the House Republicans stated, “I don’t see the appetite to take this up right now.”
"Campaign For Liberty; Michigan's Campaign For Liberty." Michigan's Campaign for Liberty. 2010. Web. 21 Feb. 2010. .
Greenwood, Tom. "Michigan Lawmakers Introduce Plan to Hike State Gas Tax." The Detroit News. Www.detnews.com, 27 Jan. 2010. Web. 21 Feb. 2010. .
Haywood, Todd A. "Lawmakers Look at Increasing Gas Tax." Michigan Messenger. MichiganMessenger.com, 27 Jan. 2010. Web. 21 Feb. 2010. .
Luke, Peter. "Michigan Gas Tax Proposed to Secure Federal Highway Aid." Mlive.com. 26 Jan. 2010. Web. 21 Feb. 2010. .
Michigan. House of Representatives. HB5768. Michigan State House of Representatives, 27 Jan. 2010. Web. 21 Feb. 2010. .
Michigan. House of Representatives. HB5769. Michigan State House of Representatives, 27 Jan. 2010. Web. 21 Feb. 2010. .
Michigan. House of Representatives. HB5770. Michigan State House of Representatives, 27 Jan. 2010. Web. 21 Feb. 2010..
Michigan House of Representatives. Rep. Richard Ball. Lawmakers Introduce Fix for Michigan's Transportation Funding Crisis. 26 Jan. 2010. Web. 21 Feb. 2010. .