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GOP Leaders Do not Rule Out New Highway Taxes, however Need Particulars | Michigan Information

The Associated Press

Senate Majority Chief Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, speaks with reporters following the Senate session on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019, in Lansing, Mich. Shirkey says “new revenue” is required to enhance Michigan’s roads. (AP Photograph/David Eggert) The Related Press

By DAVID EGGERT, Related Press

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Republican legislative leaders on Wednesday didn’t rule out the necessity for tax or different income will increase to enhance Michigan‘s deteriorating roads however mentioned they need to see what’s proposed by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who promised in her State of the State speech to quickly define a “real” repair.

Home Speaker Lee Chatfield and Senate Majority Chief Mike Shirkey mentioned the roads and different points after Whitmer used her handle to establish infrastructure as one in every of two crises going through the state together with the training system.

“There’s no way we’re going to fix this problem that’s been 50 years in the making without coming up with new revenue for infrastructure,” Shirkey, of Clarklake, informed reporters throughout a joint roundtable with Chatfield that served as their official response following Whitmer’s Tuesday night time speech. He stopped in need of backing a selected plan — akin to elevating gasoline taxes or car registration charges — “because we haven’t had the best ideas surface yet.”

Larger gasoline and registration taxes took impact two years in the past as a part of GOP-enacted legal guidelines to steadily pump $1.2 billion extra yearly into transportation, however many agree it’s not sufficient new spending. Whitmer will embrace a proposal in her March price range presentation to lawmakers.

Chatfield, of Levering, didn’t go so far as Shirkey in agreeing “new revenue” is required but in addition didn’t reject it outright. He reiterated his assist for making certain all taxes paid on the pump go to infrastructure . The gross sales tax on gasoline now primarily is directed to colleges and municipalities.

It could be “irresponsible,” Chatfield mentioned, to ask taxpayers to pay extra with out additionally lowering different spending.

“It could be new revenue, but it does not necessarily mean there won’t be cuts somewhere else in the budget,” he mentioned.

The leaders largely agreed with Whitmer on the key points that must be tackled, with some exceptions. Chatfield, for example, mentioned she “missed” a chance to speak extra about reducing excessive automotive insurance coverage premiums — a high Republican precedence — and altering the legal justice system .

He and Shirkey have been cautious about her name for the state to supply two years of tuition for highschool graduates to attend group school or a four-year school or college. The help would cowl tuition or necessary charges not already offset by need-based federal Pell Grants or the state’s tuition program for Medicaid recipients. A separate program, modeled after one in Tennessee, would assist adults 25 and older earn a technical certification, affiliate diploma or switch to a four-year college.

“We heard a lot of neat ideas last evening and things that the governor believes should be provided to the citizens of our state,” Chatfield mentioned. “What we didn’t hear is how that revenue will be accumulated. I think it’s important to note that the state of Michigan only has the money that we take out of the pockets of the people that we serve.”

Shirkey mentioned the notion of “free” school “is something that we’re going to explore in great detail.” He mentioned he’s not certain that price is the No. 1 impediment for people, and he needs to ensure college students are getting “value.” He additionally mentioned the enterprise group ought to take extra possession of working to deal with firms’ downside with discovering sufficient certified staff.

Whitmer on Tuesday introduced a objective of accelerating the variety of residents age 16 to 64 with a postsecondary credential — an trade certificates, affiliate diploma or greater — to 60 p.c by 2030, up from 44 p.c of the workforce as of 2016.

Comply with Eggert on Twitter at https://twitter.com/DavidEggert00

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Updated: February 13, 2019 — 11:07 pm

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