Gov. Snyder's fuel tax hits roadblock with Northern Michiganders
As Governor Snyder unveiled his nearly $51 billion budget Thursday night, some of his proposals aren't sitting well with Northern Michigan folks -- specifically his plan to increase the fuel tax. The majority of people 7&4 spoke with said it's just more pain at the pump.
"Let's not let politics stop common sense," said Governor Snyder, in his "Your Money, Your Voice" town hall forum in Grand Rapids, Mich. "Let's do what we all know is right and invest in our roads."
Investing in our streets, highways and bridges is a move from Governor Snyder that requires some big changes on how the state pays to fix them.
Those changes: increasing the fuel tax from 19 cents a gallon to 33 cents, as well as increasing vehicle registration fees. Snyder argues doing nothing will cost michigan more down the line.
"We pay $81 more a year on average for vehicle repairs than surrounding states," said Snyder.
But he seems to be hitting a roadblock with Northern Michigan drivers.
"I think it's a little much at this point," said Ben Stevenson, Benzonia resident. "I think the economy is a little fractured right now and I think anything that's going to require more money out of people's pockets is too much to ask."
"Raising taxes isn't in our best interest right now," said Jay Shoffner, who lives in Glen Arbor. "I do a lot of driving and it's going to cost me a lot of money."
While some agree our roads do need some work...
"We haven't spent enough money on the highways in the last 10 to 15 years," said Maury Witteveen, Suttons Bay resident. "I think the amount is more than we need, but I think we should raise the gas tax somewhat."
Others said there are more important issues at stake.
"I think Snyder needs to put money in our education to improve our workforce in Michigan," said Rich Roman, Traverse City resident. "Maybe let's start there."
On average, a typical family would pay $120 more per car, each year, with this change. But Snyder argues it's simply user fees.
"If you're not out there driving around, then you're not going to pay more," said Snyder. "If you don't have a car, you don't pay anything."
Hearing this brought even more frustration.
"I'm getting to the age of trying to retire and all I'm doing is paying taxes," said Shoffner. "And I don't see any of it coming back in any shape or form."
While the majority of people 7&4 spoke with do not support Governor Snyder's proposal to increase the fuel tax, many of them did agree that the roads do need some work.
And other than here in Northern Michigan, Snyder's plan faces a bumpy road in the state house and senate. In response to those opposing the governor's plan, a spokesman for the governor says Snyder is willing to listen to other ideas on funding the state's roads.
Click HERE to watch Governor Snyder's "Your Money, Your Voice" town hall forum from Grand Rapids.