Why I plan to vote NO on Michigan Proposal 1

bad roadYes, Michigan roads are horrible, and they need to be fixed for the sake of public safety and to enhance the state’s competitiveness. However, I intend to vote NO on Prop 1 for two main reasons.

Reason number 1:

I’m tired of the juvenile behavior of our legislative leaders. We send them to Lansing and pay their salaries so that they can make the important decisions and decide how to implement them. They shouldn’t have to run back and put the burden on voters simply because the fix for Michigan roads involves raising taxes. I see no reason why the governor and legislature, as our elected representatives, shouldn’t be able to make the tradeoffs and compromises necessary to fix our roads and pay for the fixes. I refuse to enable their lack of responsible leadership by voting for this measure.

Reason #2:

I think it is wrong to raise the state sales tax to 7% in order to pay for the road fixes and a laundry list of other items. Sales taxes, as most of us know by now, are regressive, i.e., they hit the poorest residents the hardest, because the poorest residents have to spend almost all of their income on life’s necessities. It is simply wrong to raise the burden on those folks. Instead, we should raise fuel taxes (i.e. the gasoline tax) to pay for the road repairs. This would discourage consumption, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and encourage further technological developments to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Given the fall in the price of gasoline over the past year, drivers would still come out ahead, and consumption would be driven down further.

I want my state to be progressive. I want our legislators to do their job. I want us to enact policies that do not penalize the poor. I want our state to be in the forefront of smart environmental policy. I will vote NO on Proposal 1.

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