Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Ken Sikkema pushing for gas tax

I was never a big fan of Ken Sikkema's policies. He was a fiscal liberal republican who gave Granholm most, if not all of what she wanted from 02 to 06.

Before the 07 tax increases, we had a period of big spending and "fee" increases, "tax shifts" and the like, and Ken Sikkema was a major player in this as the Senate majority leader. Rick Johnson and Ken Sikkema worked well with Granholm's fiscal liberalism against the more rank and file republicans. The fee increases were in 04. The "Tax shift" was in 06. The tax increase was in 07. These were all cases of taxpayers paying more money to the government who blows it like Tony Montana blew cocaine in Scarface.

I agree with the Michigan Chamber of Commerce more often than I disagree. I personally like a lot of the folks there, including Rich Studley who is usually right on the issues, including taxes. 8 out of 10 times I agree. This is one of the two. I also am well aware that Road Builders are part of the chamber membership and this is influencing some of the policy. On the gas tax increase push that has been going on 4+years, I could not disagree more.

Republicans need to take a lesson from Sikkema. The lesson is one year. 2006. Thanks to his policies which were even worse than Bush on fiscal issues, too many thought of republicans as democrat lite. It's time for less government and more freedom, and the gas tax is the worst tax of them all.

From the Chamber and MIRS

Supporters Try To Spark Idled Road Funding Issue
Former Senate Majority Leader Ken SIKKEMA and Michigan Chamber of Commerce President Rich STUDLEY held a "press roundtable" where they emphasized that Republicans have a long history of distinguishing between general tax hikes and user fees.

The context of the discussion was the ongoing effort to get Michigan officials to raise the revenues required to get the state's roads back into some semblance of good repair. A push for a hike in the state's 19-cent gas tax has been going on for at least four and a half years.

Sikkema, as Senior Policy Fellow for Public Sector Consultants, has issued a white paper to demonstrate that anti-tax Republicans have traditionally supported Gas Tax hikes.

"Over the past 12 years, 15 states have raised their Gas Tax," Sikkema told reporters. "Of those, 11 had Republican governors."

Mr. Sikkema, how many governors have we lost in the last 12 years? I don't give a damn what party raised the gas tax, it's wrong, especially as we have one of the highest gas taxes in the country, and one of the highest gas prices in the country. The deathblow to this economy was the high gas prices in 08. People's budgets were not ready for that, the cost of everything went up due to shipping, and it was a matter of time before the foreclosures cames in, the businesses folded, the jobs were lost, and the Republicans got their ass kicked. Now Sikkema wants to increase the price of gas again, and bring the money to this clustermuck of a government. I'm glad he's a former senator. Mark Jansen was a big improvement.


Unknown said...

Michigan residents already pay some of the highest gas taxes in the U.S. - that's the road tax + the sales tax.

That's why Michigan residents pay so much for gas.

Unfortunately, the money collected from the sales tax on gasoline goes into the general fund - not for roads. And 10% of the 19 cent per gallon road tax gets siphoned off for public transportation. Then the state siphons off more to pay for administration of the transportation department.

So while Michigan residents pay some of the highest taxes on gasoline in the U.S., at the same time we have some of the worst roads.

To make matters worse, many cars now being sold use very little gas, and several models being released over the next few years use no gas at all. So even if Michigan raises the gas tax, funding will continue to decline as a smaller and smaller portion of drivers pay for roads - and an increasingly large number of drivers pay little or nothing.

So before any new gas tax is passed, we first need to direct that more of the money ALREADY being collected be used for road construction and repair. And future road funding needs to be funded so that all drivers pay their fair share, such as through an increased registration fee that must be paid on all registered cars.

bear said...

Why can't the state just cut their spending? This is not brain surgery......

Put me in charge, I'll cut it to the bone. "There will be a surplus" is my motto.

I have no desire to move from Michigan, but the idea has been put on the table as we see the economy continue to fall.

Dan said...

I still don't understand how increasing the gas tax would be a "user fee." Would they truly restrict any revenue raised from being spent in the general fund? Michigan has arguably the worst roads in the country, which is another major reason people don't want to do business there, in addition to militant unions, and an even worse regulatory structure than other non-right-to-work states such as Indiana (which is hemmoraghing too, but still sucking jobs out of southwest Michigan).

The only user-fee tax I can see is the creation of a toll-road, or better yet, privately owned and managed highways. The government in Michigan has proven itself incompetent with regards to managing roads.

Unknown said...

It is true that Michigan has terrible roads. But they would be a lot better if the state used all the taxes collected on gasoline sales on roads, instead of diverting nearly half for other uses.

Until the state uses more of the money already collected on roads NOBODY should support increased taxes for roads.

In private, politicians say they don't want to stop the diversion because it would make the shortfall in the general fund even worse.

But it is fraud to claim that roads are bad because Michigan drivers don't pay enough in taxes. We need a constitutional amendment to prevent the government from diverting gasoline taxes to other uses, to end this fraud once and for all.