By: Fox 2 General Manager Mike Renda
Tuesday May 5th is a big day in the state of Michigan. Voters will go to the polls and decide whether Proposal 1 will pass. Prop 1 is a Constitutional Amendment that would raise the state sales tax from 6% to 7% to principally help pay for massive road repairs that are so badly needed across our state.
Many folks have been grousing about the poor condition of our roads but are against any increase in taxes. Many believe the added elements to the proposal that include revenues for schools, transit and low-income tax breaks are just unnecessary pork.
But to me it all comes down to the fact that the terrible condition of our roads and bridges threatens to derail our state economy. Just last week the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce cited a report that said 38% of Michigan's roads are in POOR condition and if nothing was done in the near future, 75% of our roads would be in POOR condition by 2020.
We know the legislature failed to pass a roads bill last year but it did give voters the option to raise $1.2 billion in road funding along with school aid and tax breaks. It was democracy in action and yes it was a bipartisan solution; pretty rare in this day and age.
So now it's up to all of us, the voters of Michigan, to decide up or down on Prop 1.
The bottom line is this: I believe we should vote YES on Proposal 1. A yes vote will ensure Michigan's roads and bridges get repaired and keeps Michigan on the road to economic recovery. A no vote with no solution to fixing our roads could very well drag down the Michigan economy. If you think the legislature will jump into action following the defeat of Proposal 1, you may be waiting a long time.
Meanwhile our roads will continue to deteriorate and the cost to repair them will go up. Isn't it ironic that the city and state whose lifeblood is the automobile industry can't find a way to pay for upkeep on its very own roads??
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