Lower Taxes for Aviation Fuel

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While the governor wants to raise gas taxes to fix Michigan roads, the legislature is considering lowering aviation fuel taxes.

"We are not giving millionaires a tax break, we are giving businesses who are going to reinvest in Michigan--those are the people that are employed by all these different aviation companies," said Representative Wayne Schmidt, a Republican who Chairs the House Transportation & Infrastructure committee.

Eliminating the sales tax on aviation fuel while raising the per gallon tax to 12 cents has some taxpayers ticked off.

"The more that people can make it seems the more breaks get funneled their way,"
"It's not right for them to pick on the little people like us you know,"
"I do kind of wish they would come up with a comprehensive plan to fix the roads instead," said three people filling up their cars at a local gas station.

Drivers pay the 6 percent sales tax plus an additional 19 cents per gallon.

"The money paid at the pump should be going to roads and most people think that it does, and don't realize that much of it does not," Ari Adler Spokesman for House Speaker Bolger.

Michigan roads are near failing - with a "D" minus grade.

"I would like to see us come together and solve this overall transportation infrastructure issue and we are not going to do that by continuing to give tax breaks to large corporations," said Representative Tom Cochran of Mason.

If the proposed aviation fuel tax became law, it would cost the state anywhere from $32 to $65 million. Some of that would come out of the school aid fund. It's something democrats don't like.

"One thing I think voters want to know, just as much as where their sales tax revenue on fuel is going, is that money they want to go into schools is going to stay there and be there when their kids need it," said Representative Brandon Dillon a Democrat from Grand Rapids.

There are some other bills being worked on that are several steps behind where the aviation fuel bills are. The House is looking at several options, but one being considered would eliminate sales tax for gasoline and diesel, and instead tax the wholesale price at 14 percent.

As for better roads, the governor remains firm in his request for $1.2 billion to improve roads. Under the current budget, without raising taxes, the House plans on adding about $350 million more dollars towards roads. It is a short term boost, and not the long term fix many are asking for.

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