OPINION

Letter: Don’t spite yourself on Prop 1

Deep down you know that venting all your frustrations with the system by opposing Proposition 1 will neither change the system nor fix the roads. Perhaps the old saying “cutting off your nose to spite your face” comes to mind.

Think of it like this: You visit your doctor and they prescribe you medication or a physical therapy regimen to alleviate your problem. If you choose not to follow their advice, who suffers? Not the doctor, you do.

By not supporting Proposition 1, who suffers? You, the Michigan motorist.

It’s time to get realistic. Lansing deflected the issue to the voting citizens and washed its hands of making a decision.

If we don’t decide to fix our roads, can we really count on the Legislature to impose a tax plan that is not more convoluted? Somehow, some way, Michigan citizens are going to pay a tax to fix the roads. The Associated Food and Petroleum Dealers support Proposition 1 because it’s the best option we have been given.

All Michigan tax paid at the pump would be designated for transportation, and gasoline sales will be exempt from sales tax. The Michigan motorist now is paying over 50 cents per gallon in taxes, but 12 cents of that is sales tax and goes into the general fund. Under Prop 1, schools and municipalities would keep their funding by an increase in general sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent.

Since the new road tax will only be adjusted once annually, gas prices may stabilize, affected only by changes in the wholesale price, not by the increase in the sales tax.

AFPD supports more stable pump prices because it’s easier for the motorist to budget for fuel. The collection process for the state treasury should be streamlined because they won’t be collecting sales tax on gasoline sales, only the motor fuel road tax. This should reduce the opportunity to underreport sales that are subject to sales tax, and will create a more competitive level playing field for fuel retailers.

The last time Michigan raised taxes to pay for roads was 1997. Proposition 1 not only modernizes the road funding system, it provides a constitutional guarantee that every dollar we pay at the pump in fuel taxes must go to transportation. Furthermore, it would guarantee that road construction projects include pavement warranties and require road builders to provide their own guarantees, in the form of warranties, on the roads they build.

Proposition 1 would also restore the state’s earned income tax credit to help working families offset the increase in sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent.

We’ve seen and heard many obscure reasons to oppose Prop 1, but you will not hurt the legislature by voting no. Another tax plan would still be needed to finance the road repairs. We can no longer afford to rob other “restricted funds.” That’s how we got into this situation in the first place.

This is the Motor City and we all use the roads. Our jobs depend on good roads, commerce depends on good roads and our tourism industry depends on good roads.

As the old oil filter advertisement once proclaimed: “pay me now, or pay me later,” when it’ll cost more.

Ed Weglarz, director of petroleum,

Associated Food and Petroleum Dealers