Snyder launches new attack on Schauer

Chad Livengood
Detroit News Lansing Bureau
  • Mark Schauer agrees “In hindsight, it was not good policy” to levy driver responsibility fees
  • “Driver responsibility fees are one of the most obnoxious things” done in the Michigan, Snyder said
  • Snyder: Driver responsibility fees “penalize essentially poor people and drive them into welfare”
  • Schauer said he worked to try to phase out the fees after they were put in place

Warren — One day after a testy televised debate, Gov. Rick Snyder introduced a new line of criticism about his gubernatorial opponent Mark Schauer, criticizing Schauer’s vote as a legislator for driver responsibility fees.

“Driver responsibility fees are one of the most obnoxious things that have been done in the state of Michigan to penalize essentially poor people and drive them into welfare,” Snyder said Monday after an event with women leaders in Clinton Township.

As governor, Snyder has signed a string of bills eliminating or phasing out driver responsibility fees that the Legislature passed in 2003 to generate tens of millions in revenue for the state’s coffers and help balance the budget.

Repeal of the fees has generated bipartisan support, including a bill Snyder signed last month allowing drivers to pay off old fines by volunteering community service.

“My opponent, the congressman, voted to put them in place,” Snyder told reporters.

Schauer, D-Battle Creek, voted for the fees when he was a state senator.

Speaking to reporters Monday at an event with retired union members in Warren, Schauer sought to counter Snyder’s criticism of his voting record by saying he agrees with the governor.

“I think he’s right,” Schauer said. “This was a very difficult time in the budget process. It was a bipartisan solution to helping balance the budget. In hindsight, it was not good policy.”

Schauer said he worked to try to phase out the fees after they were put in place.

“I think it’s the right policy decision to repeal it, to provide a community service option,” Schauer said. “That’s a scenario where I agree with Gov. Snyder.”

Snyder and Schauer found little — if any — common ground Sunday while sharing a stage at Wayne State University for a town hall-style debate co-sponsored by The Detroit News, Detroit Public Television, Detroit Free Press and AARP Michigan.

More than 140,000 households in Metro Detroit tuned into the one-hour forum on WTVS (Channel 56), WXYZ (Channel 7) and WDIV (Channel 4), scoring the program a 7.8 Nielson rating, according to Detroit Public TV.

Thousands more watched the debate online or on an out-state television station, according to DPTV.

clivengood@detroitnews.com

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Twitter.com/ChadLivengood