Skubick: Why voters could still favor raising the sales tax

Now what?

The voters have spoken.

The tax hike for roads was shot down.

There is no Plan B yet, but the lousy roads are still lousy and getting lousier by the minute.

Now what?

How about a special summer session of the legislature devoted solely to the road fix and how about another bite of the sales tax apple?

After they finish the budget round June 1, Michigan's full time legislators head back to the district to do whatever one does back in the district for most of the summer. They have two - count 'em - two sessions days on the calendar for July and August.

But the governor has the power to call them back and internal polling data suggests the citizens would love it if he did.

One of the major gripes coming out of Tuesday's election is this: "Why did the legislature dump this on us? Why didn't they do their job?"

The governor and lawmakers heard the squawking and felt the anger ,so here is a nifty opportunity for them to redeem themselves . Eighty-five percent of the citizens want them in this town, this summer, working on the road package.

And even more amazing, a hefty majority favor raising the sales tax by a penny, which would mean another vote later this year.

Come again?

Voters just said no to the sales tax, and now they want to revisit it? It doesn't make sense.

Oh, yes it does. What voters rejected was a sales tax woven into a hodge-podge of additional spending that was so complex, the typical voter had no choice but to vote no.

The polling question by EPIC-MRA dealt with a "clean" sales tax boost without add ons.  Thirty-seven percent really favored that, and 27 percent could buy it, which means there is a respectable 64 percent supporting this alternative.

And, are you sitting down? A majority oppose cutting the state budget to fix the roads.   

Eighty-eight percent said don't slice K-12.   

Eighty-six percent said don't slash health care for the needy. 

Seventy-six percent said leave state aid to cities alone, and 63 percent do not want to cut higher ed.

The citizens also reject hiking the gas tax. Only 27 percent favor that.

Hence, here is the framework for a re-do of the road fix package and, with the public really angry at legislators, maybe they can buy back a little good will by doing the job, some say, they should have done in the first place. 

But, with a packed agenda between now and the end of the month, the special session this summer might be the only route to get there. 

Let's see what they do.

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