|State Rep. Lee Chatfield enjoys the MIGOP Convention in February with wife Stephanie and daughter Payge (Photo by Darlene Dowling Thompson/Kenneth A. Ration)|
By Brandon Hall
(Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com)
State Rep.Lee Chatifeld recently authored a great op/ed regarding Proposal One-check it out. In it, he says the proposal punishes Michigan families, who are taxed enough already. Chatfield also calls the plan irresponsible, proves there is indeed a Plan B, and says it's "time that the legislature does its job."
>>>Lee Chatfield is a first term State Representative from Northern Michigan. Chatfield is the Chairman of the Local Government Committee, and also serves on the Education Committee as well as the Health Policy and Tax Policy. committees. Chatfield beat Frank Foster in a fierce primary battle last year, ousting the incumbent State Rep during one of the most watched elections last cycle.
Chatfield recently authored this op/ed on Prop 1:
It’s no secret that Michigan roads are among the nation’s worst. A shining example is the shape of our Northern Michigan roads. Because of the more extreme weather conditions and limited funds to our road commissions, you don’t have to travel far to realize that our roads need more funding. In my opinion, Michigan’s road crisis is a result of a lack of priority in our state budget, and long term funding solutions must be implemented very soon before the problem gets worse and people get hurt.
However, does the fact that Michigan’s roads need more funding mean that Proposal 1 is the best option? Is it true that there is no “Plan B” in the legislature to fix our crumbling roads and bridges? What exactly will happen, and how much will our taxes be increased if Proposal 1 passes?
First, let me answer the question regarding what this proposal does. This package is eleven bills in all, and it includes numerous sweeteners that have little or nothing to do with roads. At the center of Prop 1 is an increase in Michigan’s sales tax from 6% to 7%, which equals a 16.7% jump in the tax that you pay on everyday items that you purchase.
This would make Michigan’s base sales tax one of the highest in the country – second after California. Prop 1 also changes the structure of the taxes paid at the pump by eliminating the 19 cent per gallon tax and the 6% sales tax at the pump, and replaces them with a 14.9% wholesale tax on gasoline.
In essence, this would increase the money you pay at the pump and, in total, increase the taxes the average Michigan family pays per year by approximately $500 – $800.
Now, all of the revenues raised will go towards fixing roads, correct? Wrong. Actually, when everything is added up, this proposal increases revenues in Michigan’s budget by $2.1 billion, but over $800 million of that goes to places other than roads. At least the remaining $1.3 billion goes to repair roads right? Wrong again. In the first year alone, $800 million would be spent to pay down old debt.
Second, let me address the question regarding whether Proposal 1 is the best option. I believe you must first answer this question, “Are Michigan citizens undertaxed, or does the state of Michigan overspend?” If you believe that Michigan’s families, workers and seniors are undertaxed, then you will probably support this bill.
However, if you believe that perhaps Michigan’s budget needs to be better prioritized to ensure that road projects and our county road commissions are provided with more adequate funds, then you are not alone. Rather than punishing taxpayers and saddling more of a financial burden upon them, maybe it’s time our government does the responsible thing and better prioritizes just like hardworking Michigan families have been forced to do.
That leads me to plan “B.” I have co-sponsored legislation that phases out the 6% sales tax and 19 cent per gallon tax that you pay at the pump and transitions it to a wholesale tax. This change would also require that all of the money you pay at the pump goes to Michigan’s roads without a tax increase. (What a novel idea, right?) Currently, none of the 6% sales tax that you pay at the pump goes to our roads, and I believe that the condition of our infrastructure is indicative of that.
As a Michigan resident, you send your legislators down to Lansing to make tough decisions and to improve our state by securing your God-given rights and providing basic governmental services that align with our Constitution. I believe it’s time that the legislature does its job and finds meaningful solutions, and that’s what I intend to do should voters reject Proposal 1.
While I am not advocating for a YES or NO vote, I personally believe that Proposal 1 is an irresponsible use of taxpayer dollars, it does not adequately fix our road crisis and, therefore, I will not be supporting it. Regardless of where you stand on Proposal 1, I encourage you to exercise your Constitutional right and get out and VOTE on May 5th.
-State Rep. Lee Chatfield
>>>Chatfield Bill Targeting BILLIONS In SECRET Corporate Welfare Sails Through Committee, Likely To Pass House
Rep. Chatfield Joins Choir Of Opposition Against May 5th Road Package Vote ________________________________________________________
Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.
>>>Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com
>>>Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com
|Photo By Darlene Dowling Thompson|