Michigan Residents to Vote on Sales Tax Increase Proposal to Fund Road Repair

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Local auto shops have seen a lot of business on tire, rim, and front-end repairs because local roads are in such bad shape.

Tuffy Auto Service manager Danny Aybar says potholes are causing a lot of frustration for customers.

“The average ticket for front end repairs typically will be anywhere around three and six hundred depending on the severity of the problem,” he said.

A December study by research group Trip says that only one-third of state maintained roads are in good condition, and because of this drivers are paying an extra $3.8 billion annually on road related repairs with auto repair goodyear.

State legislators decided on a plan to fix the issue.

Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill package that would send Proposal One onto voters on May 5.  Voters will decied whether to raise the sales tax from six to seven percent in order to raise over $1 billion extra to go to road funding.

Customers would see a slight raise at the retail register.  A shirt that costs $29.99 would cost 30 cents more with the sales tax increase.

“I have done some coffee shop polling and many, many people who are either low income or seniors have told me they favor this,” Sen. Rick Jones said.

But the increase also includes millions more for schools, local governments, and in tax breaks for the poor among other changes.

The sales tax on gas would also be replaced with a wholesale tax on motor fuel.

State director of Americans for Prosperity Scott Hagerstrom says more money is needed for roads, but a tax increase is not the answer.

“We have one of the highest taxes on gasoline in the country, but over 40 percent of it doesn’t go to fix roads,” he said.

But Sen. Jones said its difficult to see a billion dollar increase without a tax increase somewhere.

“That’s what the governor says he needs.  In Michigan we don’t tax food and we don’t tax medicine,” he said.

Voters will decide whether to raise the sales tax on the Proposal One ballot on May 5.

“It’ll force every person, every family in the state to rearrange their spending,” Hagerstrom said.

Residents have until April 6 to register to cast a vote in the special election.

For Focal Point, I’m Tyler Clifford.

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