News Story

Pro-Gas Tax Hike Democrat: Never Seen A Public Willing To Tax Itself

Yet, local voters have approved 549 millages taxing themselves for roads and more

A recent Bridge Magazine article reported on the poor reception Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s proposed 45-cent gas tax hike has received from the public.

Bridge’s headline for the piece was: “Yes, it takes billions to fix Michigan roads. No, taxpayers don’t want to pay.”

Included in the story was this quote from a prominent state Democratic politician:

“‘I’ve never seen a time when the public was willing to tax themselves for anything,’ Bob Emerson, former Democratic Senate Minority Leader, said at the roads forum. ‘I don’t think the public will ever accept that it’s needed.’”

Last year, 549 ongoing property tax millage levies had been approved by local voters, all of which dedicated some tax revenue to roads. They included 21 additional road tax millages approved by local voters just between 2015 and 2018, and many other approved previously.

Apparently voters are willing to tax themselves every year for a broad range of purposes, including road repair. For example, in 2018, taxpayers in local communities voted to approve 36 new school millages for an additional $1.5 billion in revenue.

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.