Senate Takes Road Funding Debate Into Second Day

Posted at 8:43 AM, Jun 12, 2014
and last updated 2014-06-12 08:47:03-04

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LANSING, Mich. (June 11, 2014) — Lawmakers in the Michigan Senate continued a marathon session Wednesday night and into Thursday morning as they tried to reach a deal on road funding.

The package of legislation was built around House Bill 5477 and a substitute from Sen. Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R-Monroe).

Under the Republican leader’s plan, the tax on fuel would have gradually increased, reaching 41 cents a gallon after five years.

However, the bill – and its substitute amendments – failed at least four times.

Before a third vote was taken on another substitute from Richardville, Sen. Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer (D-East Lansing) blasted Republicans for failing to find consensus.

According to Richardville spokesperson Amber McCann, the last substitute moved the percentage tax on the wholesale price of fuel to 7 percent. McCann said the measure is ‘arguably revenue neutral,’ raising money for roads as the price of fuel continues to rise.

HB 5493, which was approved, repeals the tax on diesel fuel and is tied to the success of HB 5477.

Additionally, Senate bills 752 and 847, which deal with restoration of $200 million in homestead property tax credits passed.

Those measures were sweeteners for Democrats who demanded some form of tax relief before they committed to supporting a tax increase to fund road and bridge repairs.

Senators also approved House Bill 4630, which would eliminate discounts for vehicle registration fees.

Earlier in the day, lawmakers considered Senate Joint Resolution A, which would have raised the state sales tax by 1 percent, then use the money to fund road repairs. It was voted down 14 to 24.

The measure needed super majority votes in both the Senate and House to advance. That would have put the issue on the November ballot where voters would have needed to give their approval before the measure took effect.