Wayland City Council unimpressed by state roads proposal

Members of the Wayland City refused to Road proposal 1craft a letter of support for the May 5 state-wide ballot issue to raise the sales tax by one cent for roads.

Councilwoman Jennifer Antel said, “The Michigan Municipal League is asking for a letter of support. I thought it was a joke.”

Councilman Tim Rose, a truck driver, said, “They (legislators) should have left it as a flat tax instead of this. I don’t like the convoluted way they’ve done this.”

Rick Mathis added, “This is absolutely horrible legislation.”

Mayor Tim Bala said, “The whole thing is like robbing Peter to pay Paul… I’m appalled that the state has come up with this for a proposal.”

Pete Zondervan, a member of the Wayland Board of Education, on the other hand, is trying to drum up support for the ballot issue and is part of the “Safe Roads Yes” campaign, which asserts, “Proposal 1 is our last, best chance to guarantee that every penny we pay in state gas taxes goes to transportation, roads and bridges. If Proposal 1 passes, every penny we pay at the pump in state gas taxes is guaranteed in the constitution to go to transportation. We can put an end to the shell game played by the politicians in Lansing that diverts gas tax revenues to non-transportation purposes.”

The proposal will ask voters to increase the state sales tax from 6 percen1466145_913005652072701_5641793197665289295_nt to 7 percent, but exempt fuel, as part of a larger plan to secure funding for infrastructure improvements, particularly roads.

The proposal, along with the other laws that it would trigger, is projected eventually to generate $1.25 billion a year for roads and bridges, according to the non-partisan House Fiscal Agency. It would also raise $200 million for the School Aid Fund and $111 million for local governments, when fully implemented.

It would also trigger companion legislation, including:

  • Increase fuel taxes: Convert existing 19-cent per gallon gasoline and 15-cent per gallon diesel taxes to a wholesale version. Gas taxes could top 41 cents by October 2015, but there would be no additional sales tax, and all resulting revenue would go to transportation.
  • Eliminate annual registration fee discounts.
  • Increase fees for heavy trucks.
  • Create new surcharges for electric and hybrid vehicles whose owners pay fewer fuel taxes.
  • Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit.
  • Provide about $300 a million a year in targeted tax relief for low-income families.

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