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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Gov. Rick Snyder proposes to increase Michigan vehicle registration fees

Southfield Michigan, skyline from the Lodge                                   Image via Wikipedia
Gov. Rick Snyder will propose a new vehicle registration fee of between $40-$120 dollars per vehicle annually to fix roads and improve bus service. Additionally, the Governor will call for a new system of high-speed buses in metro Detroit to make it easier for riders to reach jobs.

The Governor made a visit to Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, Michigan on October 26th to tout his transportation plan ideas. 

Comparing the higher $120.00 or $10.00 a month fee to "two trips to Starbucks" Gov. Snyder cited to Ann if imposed, the fee it could raise $1 billion to fix roads a good start, but noted  "we need to do more than that."

The lower fee cited in Detroit Free Press, Gov. Snyder will ask for state Republican controlled super-majority in the House and Senate to draft legislation authorizing counties & regions to levy after voter approval, supplemental vehicle registration fees of $40.00 per vehicle. Money raised would be used within that county or region.
“Michigan’s infrastructure is living on borrowed time,” Snyder said in a statement. “We must reinvest in it if we are to successfully reinvent our economy. I haven’t met a Michigan driver yet who is satisfied with the condition of our roads and yet we’re facing a $1.4 billion shortfall just to maintain our current system," the Governor cited.  
"If we want to grow our economy and keep our children here, then we need to fix the very foundation of our state," he said.
Since the problem state of Michigan's roads aren't a new, many Michiganders believe that the Governor should have come in the door, with new ideas to fix the growing problem.

Instead, Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer (D-East Lansing) stated in a statement on her website, Governor Snyder is regenerating old ideas that are at best, tired proposals.
"It seems that Governor Snyder can come up with bold ideas when they benefit his corporate friends, but when it comes to Michigan's roads and infrastructure system, we get regurgitated ideas that amount to little more than a shell game," Whitmer noted. 
"Michigan actually needs to reinvent the way we pay for our roads, not simply shift fees around to give the illusion we're solving problems," she said.
Additionally, for the Governor to compare the higher $120 a year similar to taking two trips to Starbucks is a bad analogy at best.

With recently signed laws by Gov. Snyder cutting Michigan's Unemployment claim benefits period from 26-to-20 weeks starting January 1, 2013, removing 41K individuals from cash assistance benefits and a series of changesin state tax exemptions impacting Seniors, middle and lower class filers; trips to Starbucks have become more like luxuries than monthly occurrences. 

On Tuesday, October 25th, Gov. Snyder announced that he wouldn't seek to increase Michigan's gas tax, now 19 cents a gallon. He will propose to shift the state taxing of fuel from the retail to the wholesale level, and levying it as a percent of the price per gallon, rather than the current flat fee per gallon. 

The wholesale price increase, impacting businesses more so than customers, has received a note of skeptical resistance from state Republican leaders.

The movement to a wholesale tax on fuel has been talked about previously and got little traction," Ari Adler spokesperson for House Speaker Bolger told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
"We are willing to review it with open minds, but we do have concerns. Among those are what happens to the current sales tax on gasoline — would that be applied to the wholesale price?" Alder, questioned.

“If so, that would be creating a tax upon a tax and we already have too much of that going on at the gas pump," he said.
Gov. Snyder also called for further developing of a high speed bus transportation and rail transit network, aviation system and ports, with $440 million dollars of funds Michigan has secured from the Federal level to accelerate passenger rail and transportation service from statewide and to Chicago.

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