On Friday, the Press reported that the state was canceling 243 highway construction projects, resulting in the loss of 10,000 jobs and the accelerated deterioration of Michigan’s infrastructure. The reason is that Michigan’s gasoline tax is too low to win Federal matching grants. Because of this, we will forgo $2.1 billion in grants and get back only 50% of the federal taxes we pay at the pump. And how much do we need to raise the tax? Eight cents over two years.
On Saturday, the Press reported that six Republican gubernatorial candidates agreed there should be no increase in the gas tax. During the same event, the candidates droned on and on about how the state must attract new jobs. To which I can only respond: what planet are these people from?
As a small business owner, I know there is very little politicians can actually do to increase private sector jobs in the short term. I will hire more people when I have customers demanding more of my products than I can produce. Period.
What politicians can do is create an environment where people want to live and grow their businesses, which includes decent roads and schools. Pandering to political extremes and the “no new taxes” crowd are part of what got Michigan into this mess, and it has to stop. We need smart governance, not political dogma.
Pandering may get you elected, but it will not make Michigan the great state it deserves to be.