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    Who are the NERD fund donors Mr Snyder?

    Raise the curtain.

    On the road again (another in a series of why Republicans will lose control in Lansing this fall).

    By KG One, Section News
    Posted on Sun Jan 22, 2012 at 09:00:00 AM EST
    Tags: Michigan Roads, Gas Tax, Rep Rick Olson, Gov. Rick Snyder, MITA, Comprehensive Transportation Fund (all tags)

    Less government, lower taxes and more freedom.

    Does anybody here have a problem with that?

    These people do.

    {Continued below the fold}

    Gov. Snyder repeated his call from last year to address the situation of Michigan Roads during his recent State of the State speech. Specifically, he repeated several times last week the "need" for $1.4-billion in new revenue.

    Eager to display how much character they really have, Republican representatives will be introducing a package of bills, heavy on the tax and fee hikes, next week to address that "problem".

    As I've mentioned earlier, I drive for a living. So I have some of interest in this issue.

    I also have a little bit more first-hand experience than most people when it comes to the condition of Michigan Roads compared to other states. I'm not going to, even for a minute, defend Michigan Roads as being the best in the nation.

    Not even good.

    Depending on where I'm at, I may give them a passable grade.

    Dodging potholes is so common that it's become habit when driving. I've become accustomed to looking at overpasses not because some punks might toss something onto traffic below, but that pieces of the bridge itself just might come through my windshield.

    You won't get any argument from me that Michigan Roads need work.

    But at the risk of asking a glaring obvious question: Why isn't anyone talking about using what the government is collecting right now and using that more efficiently?

    Let's start by looking at what we are paying right now.

    Currently, Michigan Motorists are paying 19 cents/gallon in state road taxes, 18.4 cents/gallon in federal road taxes, 6% Michigan sales tax and a MUSTFA fee of $.00875/gallon (underground storage tank cleanup fee, which happens to sunset this year).

    The last gas tax hike increase was under a termed out John Engler back in '97.

    State...okay. Federal...okay. Hey, waitaminit...Michigan Sales Tax?

    Why are we paying a 6% sales tax every time we fill-up, but that money goes into the general fund, rather than towards roads?

    According to the MDOT, that's about $1-billion. There is more funding that can be reprogrammed right off the bat.

    From all indications, the governor is going to continue using state money and resources to directly compete against a private Michigan-based business to build a bridge "that won't cost Michigan Taxpayers anything."

    This issue has been gone through enough times already here.

    We can spend over $2-billion in "free money" along with figuring out a way to pay back a $500-million Canadian "loan", or we can let a private business build it at no actual cost to the taxpayers whatsoever.

    Okay, now we have $2-billion of that "free money" to work with, and we've even saved Michigan Taxpayers $500-million by simply telling the Canadians "No".

    During that same State of the State, Gov. Snyder repeated his call for improved transit.

    Mass transit programs in Michigan, or anywhere else across the nation for that matter, have never been successful without tax dollars to prop them up.

    For a governor bent on efficiency, why are no Republicans calling for transit to be more (or even totally) self-sufficient?

    According to MDOT's own numbers, 30% of the cost of operating these money pits comes from the state. By zeroing out the Comprehensive Transportation Fund, which siphons money away from the Michigan Transportation Fund (used to fund maintaining roads and bridges) and is used instead to fund mass transit, you are looking at an approximate savings of over $186-million.

    Oh, Rep. Olson? You want revenue? Why aren't you tackling this before proposing a gas tax hike?

    I'll even throw out another idea: Why are private companies banned from directly competing against a local transit system?

    The governor talked about encouraging and promoting entrepreneurism here in Michigan.

    Private jitney services competing against CATA, SMART, D-DOT, AATA & The Rapid? Who wouldn't want to provide jobs for unemployed Michiganians (and give transit systems a reminder of who they really exist to serve)?

    Finally, what are we actually paying for when contracting out road work? Does Michigan really need a prevailing wage law? How many companies have been held responsible for shoddy work and made to redo the job, or even better yet, banned from bidding on any future work?

    Please don't use the "I don't want to see that on my desk," as your defense. That is what a coward would use, not an actual leader.

    According to an article from the Mackinac Center this month, repealing the prevailing wage law alone will save Michigan Motorists about $200-million.

    So to sum things here up, would you rather deal with an irate Mike Nystrom and the MITA-crowd knocking on your door? Or irate taxpayers and election challenges knocking the Republican Party out of control this fall?

    It's safe to say that a funding problem exists, and has existed for some time now.

    The bottom line: It's all about priorities.

    Governor Snyder wants $1.4-billion. With about an hour's worth of work, I've outlined over $3.3-billion in current revenue that can be redirected towards its original purpose of fixing Michigan Roads & Bridges.

    The overall choice is pretty simple: You can use what you've already got right now, or you can roll the dice and hope that enough of your constituents don't throw you out at the next election.

    It's The Michigan Republican Party's election to lose.

    < We Can't Pick and Choose the Rights of Others | Sunday Divertere >

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    Whose desk is it? (none / 0) (#1)
    by Rougman on Sun Jan 22, 2012 at 12:30:38 PM EST
    The old "I don't want to see that on my desk" method of governing gives Mr. Snyder the ability to stay agnostic on right-to-work, I believe the issue on which he last used the phrase, but the tactic also works on any issue on which he gets to, as governor, not make a decision.  

    Let the man expose himself, good or bad, to the voting population on all issues.  Then we can decide who should be sitting behind the desk in the first place.

    Could it be? (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by RushLake on Mon Jan 23, 2012 at 05:41:55 AM EST
    "State...okay. Federal...okay. Hey, waitaminit...Michigan Sales Tax?

    Why are we paying a 6% sales tax every time we fill-up, but that money goes into the general fund, rather than towards roads?"

    Could it be that the powers that be are hoping people don't notice that money? Could it be that because there is a lot of pressure on politicians from education aristocrats including the Michigan Extortion Association, there might be a strong desire to start filling up the public education hopeless chest with that money when a way can be found to justify it?

    And now the plot thickens... (none / 0) (#4)
    by KG One on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 02:26:28 PM EST
    ...why would a republican propose a gas tax?

    The answer just might surprise you (go to 6:40).

    • Ha! by Corinthian Scales, 01/25/2012 03:06:55 PM EST (none / 0)
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