New gas tax for roads bad idea

Now that Michigan is a right-to-work state, the Mackinac Center, whose influence was instrumental in that succeeding, has a new challenge.

The Michigan legislature and Gov. Whitmer will be preparing state budgets this summer — and organized labor, crony capitalists, special interests and the old guard in Lansing will be pushing hard to see our state return to the days of out-of-control tax-and-spend policies throwing the economy into reverse. The Mackinac Center stands in their way.

Unfortunately, Gov. Whitmer has gotten off on the wrong foot by proposing a gas tax increase. And if her proposed tax hike passes, Michiganders would pay the highest gas taxes in the country.

Put another way — every household would pay almost $600 in additional gas taxes, on average. Whitmer’s proposed 45 cents per gallon tax hike would increase state taxes on gas to a whopping 83.41 cents per gallon.

The next highest state tax is Pennsylvania at 58.70 cents, followed by California at 55.53 cents per gallon.

On top of state taxes, all states must pay 18.40 cents per gallon in federal gas taxes. Moreover, the national average for state taxes on gas is 33.78 cents per gallon. Along with the 18.40 cents in federal taxes, we’re already paying more than drivers in other states, on average.

But the reasons to defeat the Whitmer gas tax hike go far beyond robbing Michiganders of more of the hard-earned money (as bad as that is).

For starters, the Mackinac Center crunched the numbers and found that Whitmer’s proposed gas tax hike would cost our state more than 22,500 private sector jobs while increasing government employment by 6,300 jobs. And here’s the kicker — 40 percent of Whitmer’s proposed gas tax hike won’t even go to roads and bridges at all! Instead, this money would be removed from the transportation fund to pay for other state government spending.

That may sound hard to believe, but if you understand the tax-and-spend mindset of too many politicians, you will find it all too common. The potential for waste is always greater when you’re spending other people’s money.

It’s very important we reprioritize current state spending to roads, especially considering that Michigan road funding has doubled in the past 10 years — increasing from $1.97 billion in 2010-11 to $3.93 billion in the 2020-21 state fiscal year — even without Gov. Whitmer’s proposed gas tax hike.

In the Whitmer environment, taxpaying citizens will pick up the tab for Lansing political management.

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