Politics & Prejudices
Lansing cuts funding to Hutzel Hospital
Voting against saving babies.
Published: March 18, 2014
That alone wouldn’t fix the long-term problem. Based on the advice of transportation experts, Gov. Rick Snyder last year asked the lawmakers to appropriate $1.2 billion a year for the next 10 years. That’s how much is needed just to get the existing streets and highways back in decent condition.
Brandenburg didn’t quarrel with that figure. But he didn’t like the governor’s suggested way to raise the money, which was to hike registration fees and, mainly, the gas tax.
Instead, he’s all for putting something on the ballot to raise the sales tax from 6 to 7 percent, and dedicating that money — he thinks it would be about $1.2 billion — to the roads.
Sales taxes are regressive, of course, and fall most heavily on the poor, including those who don’t drive or can’t afford a car. I told him I thought conservatives ought to support getting it from the gas tax, which is, after all, something of a user fee. The more you drive, the more you pay.
However, Brandenburg candidly said, he owns a delivery business, Blue Water Industrial Supply. “When the price of gas rises, it kills us,” he said. Paying for the roads by raising the gas tax, would badly cut into his profit margins.
I believe that’s what the economists call acting in one’s own non-enlightened self-interest. I have to confess, however, to something of a sneaking admiration for Brandenburg.
He knows what he wants and why, and admits it openly. When you consider our world of two-faced political deceivers, this is, perversely, somewhat bizarrely refreshing.
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