UPDATED: Michigan Republicans aiming to carve another $770 million from schools to pay for road/bridge repairs

This is getting ridiculous

Michigan Republicans are getting ready to inflict further catastrophic damage on our state’s schools with the passage of a package of bills designed to pay for road and bridge repair, a major priority of Governor Rick Snyder. The bills say nothing about education or the School Aid Fund but the impact is there to the tune of more than $770.1 million.

Here’s how it works: House Bill 4539 repeals the the sales tax on gasoline sales in Michigan. House Bill 4571 changes the current tax on aviation fuel from 3 cents to an “ad valorum” tax 4 cents and House Bill 4572 eliminates the sales tax on aviation fuel.

All of this has the following overall impacts:


[Source: Senate Fiscal Agency (pdf), click chart for a larger version]

The General Fund gets a $255 million cash injection. The Transportation Fund gets $1.05 billion. And see the School Aid Fund? Look at the last line. Net impact is ZERO! YAY! But wait. Look up to the top of the chart next to the “Revenue Losses” section. Under School Aid Fund (SAF), there’s $770.1 million hit from the sales taxes being eliminated on fuels. That’s because 60% of the 4% part of Michigan’s sales tax goes to SAF. Now look next to the “Revenue Generated” section. There’s an offset to the $770.1 million with the title “Increase Sales and Use Taxes by 1%”.

That’s where they have attempted to pull a fast one.

Increasing the state sales tax requires Michiganders to vote for it and only after it receives super-majority (2/3) votes in both the House and the Senate. They are going to eliminate $770.1 million from the schools and hope and pray that Michigan voters see fit to increase the sales tax. Again. And this doesn’t fill the part of the hole created by eliminating the sales tax on aviation fuel, by the way.

A sales tax is one the most regressive taxes we have. The more poor you are, the greater a percentage of your budget goes to sales taxes. And this presumes that Michiganders would actually vote for a sales tax increase. We just added 2 cents to our state sales tax in 1994 and Goddess knows that Republicans have spent enormous amounts of time and money convincing us, with the help of their corporatist pals at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, how evil taxes are, especially NEW taxes.

By doing it this way, they pay for over half of Governor Snyder’s proposal to invest $1.2 billion in road & bridge repair by taking it from the schools. Period. They then count on the largesse of Michigan voters to fill that hole by voting to tax themselves.

It’s time to take action and, considering the impact that Tea Party groups have had contacting their legislators, I really think phone calls can make a difference. Three of these bills, House Bills 4571, 4572 and 4677, come before the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure TODAY. There are several things you can do:

  1. Click HERE to go to a page with contact information for your legislators. MAKE THE CALL!
  2. Click HERE to send a message to your legislator via the Michigan Parents for Schools website
  3. Click HERE to send a message via the Tri-County Alliance for Public Education

Make sure you mention House Bill 4539, as well.

One final thing: keep in mind that this is nothing but a blatant ploy by Michigan Republicans, who have already raised taxes on more than half of Michigan residents, to avoid having to say they’ve raised taxes on us again. They literally are forcing us to raise our own taxes by pointing a gun at our schools’ and teachers’ and students’ heads.

UPDATE: This afternoon the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed both H.B. 4571 & 4572 along party lines (9-6 vote) sending it to the full House. If 4539 passes, as well, they will have stripped over three quarters of billion MORE dollars from schools with absolutely no plan in place to replace the revenue. Call your House Representatives TODAY!

[Hat tip to the fine folks at Save Michigan's Public Schools for bringing this to my attention.]

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  • TeachOn!

    The republicans have gotten solo bad they now have to try and ram their agenda down our throats under the table. This is like dealing with a child who tries to hide the peas in the mashed potatoes. Stop giving lip service to supporting education and just say NO!

  • http://www.facebook.com/Forsetti Jim Matthews

    The upcoming generation of Michigan children are having their futures systematically made more difficult all in the name of party purity, income redistribution to the top and an ideology that is not supported by any successful examples from any first world country. I personally hold responsible every single person that voted for Republicans and every person who didn’t vote in 2010/12.

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  • KarenJ

    If you’re a Republican, it makes all kinds of sense to strip funds from kids’ education so that roads and bridges can be maintained.

    After all, it’s good for business to help those log trucks with studded tires, 18-wheelers hauling cheap Chinese goods to Walmart, FedEx and UPS trucks with their twice-as-expensive-as-the-USPS service doing deliveries — and, of course, all those dictatorial emergency managers Snyder has going from poor Michigan town to poorer Michigan town…they must have roads to travel on.

    Oh, yeah, there will be less of one kind of vehicle on those Michigan roads. School busses. Snyder probably will be cutting the school days short so that kids can work in the canneries and be the street-sweeping brigades in those poor Michigan towns.

  • http://twitter.com/jon_shiflett Shifty

    If you notice the chart if this “plan” happend there would be 0.0 Million dollars of net revenue change to the School Aid Fund. The chart is located in this article. Way to fear monger douchebag.

    • http://eclectablog.com Eclectablog

      Only if we vote to raise the sales tax which you would have known if you had actually read the entire post.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=547580382 Charles Gaba

    From a friend, a bit more detail on the committee votes (not that it makes a damned bit of difference to the results):

    “House Bills 4571 & 4572 were just reported out of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and are now heading to the House floor. I didn’t get to see much of the committee meeting but saw the very end with the votes. I believe there may be a couple of modifications, but the bills to exempt sales tax on aviation fuel were sent to the floor by a 9 (all republicans) to 6 (all democrats) vote. There were numerous cards from individuals and organizations entered into the record both for and against the bills. Those in favor were from those who would benefit and those opposed were from those who would lose funding which were primarily school districts and municipalities. It appears that a major concern of those opposing was that there was no method identified to regain the dollars lost to schools and municipalities from the loss of sales tax.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/phil.bolton.79 Phil Bolton

    Honestly, if I were a parent living in Michigan I would be packing right about now. I wonder how many of my tax dollars it’ll take to fix the state once voters there wise up and kick the GOP out?

  • http://www.facebook.com/phil.bolton.79 Phil Bolton

    There’s also the fact that educated people generally vote Democrat.

    • http://www.facebook.com/grammar.nahtzi Grammar Nahtzi

      Is that why blacks vote 99% Democrat? Because they are so educated?

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