News Story

Whitmer: Republicans should have attacked me on proposed 45-cent gas tax hike

Whitmer was saved from herself by Republicans in 2019, but now says her proposal would’ve been a strong line of attack

What are gas prices in your area of Michigan? If Gov. Gretchen Whitmer had had her way in 2019, a gallon of gas would cost 45 cents more. And it’s that attempt at a tax hike, Whitmer admits now, that left her vulnerable to attacks during her reelection campaign last year.

Whitmer cruised to reelection in November, beating Republican challenger Tudor Dixon by 11 percentage points.

With her second term secured, Whitmer talked what-ifs with David Axelrod, who was chief strategist for President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign. Axelrod hosts a podcast called “The Axe Files.”

The Detroit News reported on Whitmer’s podcast appearance:

During an hour-long interview with Democratic political consultant David Axelrod on his "The Axe Files" podcast, Whitmer said if she were the Republicans, she would have focused the attacks on her 2019 failed proposal to raise the state's gas tax by 45 cents per gallon.

“That’s the ad I would have run against me the whole time, by the way," Whitmer told Axelrod.

“I’m glad they didn’t," she added.

Whitmer left the door to such an attack k wide open in July, when she released a campaign ad touting “No New Taxes” in her first term.

As Michigan Capitol Confidential pointed out at the time, the only reason Whitmer didn’t raise taxes in 2019 is that Republicans in the Legislature wouldn’t let her.

Whitmer feels that argument might have worked, if it had been pushed harder.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.