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Should Michigan’s gas tax be suspended?

Should Michigan’s gas tax be suspended?
Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 10:36 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - With some gas prices finally below $5 a gallon, President Joe Biden is working to bring it even lower by calling on Congress to suspend the federal gas tax for three months.

The latest: Gas Prices

Many Michigan lawmakers said the state should follow suit.

One Michigan man said it costs him $800 every month to fill his SUV. He is among those calling on state leaders to consider the President’s lead and suspend the state gas tax.

Wednesday, Biden called on Congress to defer the gas tax until September. Similar to the state gas tax, federal gas tax is used to maintain highways and mass transit, but Biden said there’s a way to fund those things without it.

“With the tax revenues up and our deficit down over $1.6 trillion this year alone, we’ll still be able to fix our highways and bring down the price of gas,” Biden said.

It’s similar to a proposal made by the Michigan GOP at the state level.

Related: Michigan road agencies concerned about potential gas tax suspension

“We do have enough dollars that come in from other revenue -- general fund revenue -- that we can backfill and put into our roads,” said Rep. Sarah Lightner. “So, you will see no decline for our roads.”

That plan was vetoed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer because the plan did not pass the Michigan Senate with a majority vote, it would not have taken effect immediately. Instead, Michiganders would have to wait until 2023 to see the benefits. Because of that, and her belief it would defund road construction, Whitmer rejected the proposal and countered with an immediate 6% sales tax reduction on gasoline.

“One of the reasons why spending the state gas tax is irresponsible, is because it would put in jeopardy the road construction that’s been happening all across Michigan as we work to rebuild our infrastructure,” said Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist. “Suspending the sales tax does not put that in jeopardy and instead allows us to provide immediate relief for Michigan families.”

In speaking with lawmakers from both parties, it was evident they both wanted the same thing -- lower gas prices. How to get there has become the hurdle.

The current bill that defers the 6% on gasoline sales tax will expire in September.

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