LANSING (WWJ/AP) — The politicians had their say and now voters have had theirs, soundly rejecting Proposal 1 which, Governor Rick Snyder said aimed to raise the state sales tax by one cent per dollar to help fund road repairs.
Before all returns had been counted, Snyder said in a statement that the measure was dead. Its defeat is a setback for Snyder and others who had warned that the state’s infrastructure is falling into disrepair because of inadequate funding.
WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick said that a large reason that the proposal failed is because people won’t pass what they don’t understand.
“At the end of the day, people look at a ballot proposal and they don’t filter in all of those things,” Skubick said. “They look at it and say first of all, ‘do I understand this?’ The complexity of it was a major problem for the Governor — trying to explain it — that was one thing. Secondly, ‘am I angry that I have to vote on this?’ Well, that number was off the charts. And thirdly, ‘maybe we just ought to give the legislature another chance.'”
Brad Williams, Vice President of Government Relations with the Detroit Regional Chamber, spoke live on WWJ following the proposal’s defeat.
“I think the important thing to remember as the legislature addresses this issue is that we can’t solve the problem by creating another problem,” Williams said. “So this is going to cost something from voters to get the roads fixed and we’re going to encourage the legislature to make the tough decisions.”
A 1-cent sales tax hike was the centerpiece of the ballot measure, which also would have raised more money for education, local governments, public transit and fully restored a tax break for lower-income workers.
Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel had some choice comments about state lawmakers when it came to how Proposal 1 was written.
“I think the campaign was just awful, I don’t think people believed it,” Hackel said. “People weren’t looking to have the legislators turn this responsibility back over to them. It’s a very simple responsibility of government officials — particularly the legislature — to come up with solutions and do what people ask them to do.”
Hackel said that the Legislature needs to come up with a plan that specifically deals with Michigan’s roads.
The constitutional amendment was placed on the ballot by the Republican-led Legislature and had backing from the GOP governor, Democrats and a broad coalition of business, labor and government groups.
But voters rejected the wide-ranging plan. It would have eliminated the sales tax on fuel so all taxes at the pump could go to transportation, restructured and doubled fuel taxes, and hiked vehicle registration fees to boost the state’s $3.7 billion transportation budget to $5 billion, an increase of a third.
Snyder is vowing to start discussions with the leaders of both chambers in the very near future.
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