Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is upping pressure on Republican lawmakers over road funding, criticizing them for approving a summer recess without first finishing next year’s budget, including a plan to raise billions to fix Michigan’s battered roads.
House and Senate leaders from both parties say they intend to continue working behind the scenes on the budget and roads, even during a break from session.
One Republican option — replacing the sales tax on gasoline — puts public schools and municipalities that have already absorbed funding cuts over the years at additional risk of losing revenue, said Jen Eyer, a Democratic strategist and partner at Lansing-based Vanguard Public Affairs.
“From a purely political standpoint, I think a lot of our Republican legislators are afraid. They’re afraid of what will happen if they raise taxes. They’re afraid of getting primaried. They’re afraid of angering their constituents,” Eyer said.
“If we want nice roads, we’re going to have to pay for them,” she added. “If we want nice schools, we’re going to have to pay for them.”