During the 2014 campaign in Michigan, we were told repeatedly that Republicans hadn’t cut education funding. Despite the fact that they had actually taken BILLIONS OF DOLLARS from our schools each year, the told us with a straight face that, despite all of the evidence to the contrary, they had increased funding for our classrooms.
Now, just a few weeks later, Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger is proposing that we pay for billions of dollars in road and bridge repairs by cutting education funding so that legislators would “not have to raise taxes”.
The plan would remove, over six years, the 6% sales tax now charged on fuel sales, while at the same time converting the 19-cent-per-gallon fuel tax to a percentage rate that would gradually increase over the same period. The result would be an extra $1 billion a year in revenue that would be devoted to roads, without an increase in the price of gas, Bolger said. […]
Bolger said sales tax revenue is projected to grow by more than $200 million annually because of economic growth in Michigan, meaning schools and local governments would not be hurt by the gradual removal of the 6% sales tax from gasoline sales.
The state’s May consensus revenue estimates said School Aid Fund revenues are projected to increase by more than 3% a year, from $11.5 billion in the 2013-14 fiscal year, to $11.9 billion in 2015, to $12.3 billion in 2016.
Over six years, “you would have $1 billion more for roads and $1 billion more for schools, without increasing the price at the pump,” Bolger said Tuesday. […]
Of the sales tax collected on fuel sales, 73% goes to the School Aid Fund and about 10% goes to local governments, according to a recent report from the House Fiscal Agency. The amount collected from sales tax on fuel is $755 million a year, based an average pump price of $3.30 per gallon, the report said. Currently, pump prices are considerably lower than that, closer to $2.80 a gallon.
See the shell game he’s playing here? He wants to get rid of the 6-cents-per-gallon gas tax and raise taxes elsewhere. The problem with that, of course, is that nearly a half billion dollars per year going to schools from the gas tax disappears and all we have to rely on are prayers that the economy improves enough fill that gigantic hole. And on that, as all Michiganders know, there is no guarantee.
As House Democrat Brandon Dillon told The Detroit News, this is not a serious proposal:
I can’t imagine after spending millions and millions of dollars to refute the claims that he cut money from education … (that Snyder would) sign a bill to demonstrably cut funding for education.
It’s a disgusting proposal that deserves to be shot down in flames before it gets any traction whatsoever. These guys are shameful and our school children simply cannot afford any more of their shamelessness.