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Some Republican lawmakers want another road funding battle in 2016

Dec 31, 2015

Credit Peter Ito / Flickr

Some Republicans in the state Senate want to throw out the road funding plan lawmakers passed in 2015 and replace it in 2016.

A new proposal in the Senate would repeal a $1.2 billion funding plan that squeaked through the Legislature just a couple months ago. It would instead raise Michigan’s sales tax rate from six percent to seven percent and dedicate all the new revenue to roads.

“What I want to make sure of is that the people know that we’re part-way there to solving the problem, but if they don’t like what they see, then they have an opportunity to fix it. If they don’t think it’s gone far enough, they have an opportunity to fix it,” said state Sen. Ken Horn (R-Frankenmuth), who introduced Senate Joint Resolution M.

Horn thinks the current plan relies too heavily on shifting money from other areas of the budget – especially with some big expenses on the horizon.

“That has me a little bit nervous,” he said. "If we tie our hands with $600 million out of the general fund, how do we ever manage new expenses?”

The sales tax increase would end after ten years under Horn’s proposal. He estimates it will generate about $1.6 billion a year for road and bridge repairs.

Three other Senate Republicans have signed on to the proposal.

Republican leaders in the state Senate say they’re not interested in another road funding battle in 2016.

Here’s a link to the resolution: http://legislature.mi.gov/doc.aspx?2015-SJR-M