Michigan Legislature votes to end gas tax; opposite Whitmer | News, Sports, Jobs
LANSING, Michigan — Michigan lawmakers voted on Tuesday to suspend state gasoline and diesel taxes of 27.2 cents per gallon for six months, finalizing a bill to which Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced her veto.
The Republican-sponsored legislation won approval 24-14 on most party lines in the GOP-controlled Senate after the House passed it last week. It’s written to save around $750 million for drivers facing higher pump prices by freezing taxes from April through September, but it won’t take effect until next year due to Democratic opposition. .
Whitmer, a Democrat, instead supported stopping the federal gasoline tax of 18.4 cents per gallon and the diesel tax of 24.4 cents while calling for opening negotiations on deductions and permanent and targeted income tax credits for retirees and low earners. She will soon veto a separate Republican-backed measure that would cut state income taxes, bolster senior deductions and bring back a child tax credit.
The statewide average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was $4.23, down slightly from last Thursday’s record high. It was $4.18 a week ago and $3.35 a month ago.
Federal legislation backed by Whitmer would shift general funds to ensure there is no impact on funding for roads and bridges. Republicans say they would do something similar if she signed the state bill.
“The tax that the governor herself had asked the feds to do – we’re doing an even bigger and better gas tax (freeze) for the people of the state of Michigan,” said Republican Senator Jim Runestad of White Lake.
“Let’s pass this shift now. It does not limit us in the amount of relief we can give and the amount of backfill we can provide with all the money we have. of a multibillion-dollar budget surplus, said Republican Senator Ken Horn of Frankenmuth.
All but two of the 16 Democrats voted against the measure, instead proposing a proposal to temporarily suspend the 6% fuel sales tax and keep funding for schools and municipalities that benefit from it intact. The state gallon tax funds road and bridge work.
“We all know there are potholes everywhere that need to be filled and massive road and bridge projects in our districts and around the state that need to be completed,” said Sen. Stephanie Chang of Detroit.
Democrats held back their support to give the bill immediate effect. This means that even if Whitmer signed it, it would not come into effect until March 2023 and by then might not make sense since the freeze is expected to start in just over two weeks.
“Governor. Whitmer is ready to take action to immediately reduce costs and put more money back in people’s pockets,” Spokeswoman Bobby Leddy said in a statement that she was ready to negotiate a bipartisan measure.
Despite the stalemate, a deal to lower prices at the pump may still be within reach.
Senate Republican Leader, Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, said on Tuesday he supports eliminating the fuel sales tax, saying he “I can’t wait to put a stake in the heart” of the levy. Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich has suggested suspending the tax for a year.
According to the nonpartisan Senate Tax Agency, Michigan drivers buy an average of 557 gallons per year. They pay $151 in taxes per gallon and, at list prices, $125 in sales taxes. They would save about $75 on the Governor’s bill.