LANSING, Mich. (AP/WWJ) — The Michigan Senate is preparing to vote on legislation to increase vehicle registration fees and fuel taxes as part of a plan to boost road spending by $1.2 billion annually within five years.
Majority Republicans will discuss the proposal behind closed doors for two hours before session starts Tuesday. House Republicans approved the bills last week over Democrats’ objections after legislative leaders and Gov. Rick Snyder hit an impasse.
The plan could see minor or major revisions in the Senate.
It boosts license plate fees by 40 percent. The 19-cents-a-gallon gasoline tax and 15-cent diesel tax rise to 22 cents and automatically go up with inflation.
Approximately $600 million comes from higher taxes and fees. Another $600 million eventually is redirected from existing tax revenue.
Tax breaks also are included.
“All eyes will be on the Michigan Senate this morning as it decides what to do with that House passed roads plan that some say does not raise enough money and cuts too much out of the budget, but that are indications that perhaps — underscore perhaps — the Senate will simply buy the House version and send it to the governor,” WWJ’s Lansing bureau chief Tim Skubick said.
“That would be an astonishing development, but it may be in the cards.”
One major issue in the proposal is worries mental health budget will be slashed if $600 million is raided from the general fund to pay for roads, Skubick added. About 500 mental health experts met in Traverse City to discuss the situation.
The two Republicans in charge of that sub-committee would not promise there would not be hits.
“But they did say if there were hits, it would be a last resort,” Skubick said.
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