Prop 1 crumbles: Lawmakers start work on ‘Plan B’

Posted at 10:27 PM, May 06, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-06 22:27:33-04

MICHIGAN -- With Proposal 1 hitting a giant pothole Tuesday night, the attention now turns to building an alternative plan.

Prop 1 crumbled at the polls, rejected  by a whopping 4 to 1 margin, the worst loss for a ballot measure since the current state constitution was adopted in the 1960s. The plan, if approved, would have removed the sales tax from motor fuels, increased the motor fuel tax, and replaced the lost sale tax revenue by increasing the state sales tax to 7 percent. That would have raised more than $1.2 billion for roads.

On Wednesday, House Speaker Kevin Cotter, R-Mt. Pleasant, promised an alternative would be ready in days, not weeks.

Cotter said he would like to stick to four foundational pillars as the road conversation continues: fair taxes, using existing dollars, better prioritizing road funding, and ensuring quality work.

"I don’t think any member can now tell you that they don’t know where their constituents stand on this, because we’ve been in the districts and having the conversations," Cotter told reporters on Wednesday in Lansing.

"I think we can get this done in short order. Sure, it’ll require some multitasking with the budgets before us, but we’re certainly capable of that.”

A plan from Cotter would also prioritize finding money elsewhere in the budget instead of raising taxes.

Both Democratic and Republican leadership expressed interest in being open to working during the legislative summer break.

“No more Band-Aid solutions," Rep. Tim Greimel, D-Aurburn Hills, said Wednesday. "Future solutions must be long-term and not waste taxpayers resources on gimmicks.”

While any specifics for an alternative plan remain unclear, Gov. Snyder hinted on Wednesday that he'd be more likely to support something similar to the plan introduced in the Senate last year that would have restructured the tax formula on gas. "That had a lot of positive elements, and that’s something we can build off," he told reporters in Holland Wednesday.

"I think there are viable choices out there. It’s just a question of gaining support from all three parts of government.”