Michigan Lawmakers Ready to Act on Budget — Without Road Deal

Republican leaders in Michigan’s Senate and House of Representatives are prepared to proceed with a budget, albeit one that doesn’t include a deal to secure funding for the state’s crumbling roads.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) recently announced he and his colleagues intend to meet the Oct. 1 budget deadline.

Deliberations between legislative leaders and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer have waged on for months. One major point of contention has been Whitmer’s proposed 45-cent fuel tax increase to provide funding for infrastructure improvements, which Shirkey and Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) opposed.

The proposal, announced March 5, calls for the tax hike in three 15-cent increases from Oct. 1, 2019, to Oct. 1, 2020. (Some tax relief would be offered to lower income families.) The tax increase is meant to generate $2.5 billion a year in revenue, which would be directed to the new Fixing Michigan Roads Fund and devoted to the state’s most important commercial routes.