Weekly Political Roundup: Rough road ahead for transportion funding

Aug 15, 2013

Each week we take a look at Michigan politics with Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and Susan Demas, columnist for MLIVE.com.

Governor Snyder has been calling for increased funding for Michigan roads to the tune of $1.2 billion a year. This is one of the items he has not gotten a lot of traction on so far from lawmakers on either side of the political aisle.

According to Sikkema, the last time Michigan increased fees and a tax for transportation funding was back in 1997.

"The reason we keep going back to this sales tax issue is because Michigan is relatively unique. It has a sales tax on top of its state and federal gas tax and that sales tax doesn't go to roads it goes to schools and revenue sharing. There are only about three or four states in the country where all the taxes at the pump don't go to roads. Michigan is one of them," he said.

Are better roads, better for business?

"For the business community it's very important. You'll notice that the Michigan Chamber of Commerce of course is one of the biggest backers of the idea of increasing road funding even if that means raising taxes," Demas said.

Sikkema added, "I think the legislator is trying to figure out a way to raise taxes without getting blamed for raising taxes. And the only way to do that is to put something on the ballot for the voters themselves to decide. That's why hearing about this notion of increasing of increasing the sales tax from 6 % to 7%."

Listen to the full interview above.