Back to the drawing board: lawmakers debate how to fix Michigan roads

No matter what, the roads need to be fixed. The way they'll be paid for, that's the question. Voters declined one option but what's next? Depends on who you ask.

The voters spoke and the answer was a resounding 'no'. So its back to the drawing board in Lansing. However, Democrats say Gov. Rick Snyder is using 'funny money' to fix the roads. 

House republicans released their road fix package this week. it's built on $700 million in economic growth, money that may or may not come in the next five years.

"It wasn't a serious plan. It was a mystery plan. It's a mystery pot of money that somehow found that will show up for or five years down the road," Rep. Sam Singh said.

State economists predict there will be new revenue, about $223 million in 2016, but that's not the $700 million the speaker wants. The Governor's Budget Director John Roberts concedes he can't confirm what will happen over the next four years.

"The projections we heard today don't go out far enough for me to be able to say that," Roberts said.

Nick Ciaramitaro is a democrat-turned-union-lobbyist who served 8 years on the house budget committee. He admits they did use economic growth to balance the budget, but it was a mistake then and it is now.    

"We don't have it, we don't know whether we're going to have it. If we get it, part of it is already spent.

Al Pscholka chairs the Republican House Budget Panel and claims the money will be there.

"The economists come in here today and it looks like fairy tales can come true because it looks like the general fund will be up by about $320 million this year and next year. We're looking at increased employment and that should help the general fund as well," Pscholka said.

The speakers office is obviously aware of all the criticism, point out that it's part of a long process: where speaker is today is not where he'll be tomorrow. Effectively: this plan could change and probably will.

The democrats and some editorial writers contend you can't pave the roads on money that may or many not appear. However, Sen. Dave Hildenbrand, the GOP Chair of the Senate Budget Committee was asked if the money will be there.
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