Michigan voters could decide on sales tax hike next May

Michigan voters could decide on sales tax hike next May

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Michigan State Capitol Michigan State Capitol
LANSING, Mich. (WJBK) -

Michigan voters would have to approve a sales tax increase, and if one gets on the ballot, the Senate Democratic leader wants to raise more than a penny in the sales tax to fund the schools with more money.

The Senate Republican leader agrees with Gretchen Whitmer that the schools could use the extra financial help.

"She's right. We do have to look and see whether or not, not just the roads are fixed, but the schools are permanently funded in a way that we can be proud of," said Randy Richardville.

Currently the state collects a sales tax at the gasoline pump that raises $1.2 billion, but none of that money goes into the roads. Most of it goes to the schools.

The Senate Republican leader would like to use $1.2 billion exclusively for the roads, but then he has to find replacement revenue for the schools, and that could be a 1.5 percent hike in the state sales tax.

"We are talking about what is the right funding mechanism," Richardville said.

Whitmer wants more than $1.2 billion for the schools so that voters will support a sales tax hike if it gets on the ballot.

"The public cares more about their schools than anything else, four to one in some polls, so it's got to be something substantial in order to get support. I don't want to throw something on the ballot that's going to fail," Whitmer said.

The governor and four legislative leaders will discuss all this on Friday with an eye toward a possible statewide vote to boost the sales tax next May.

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