Action alert: Don’t take from kids to fix our roads

The House plan approved in lame duck session would divert needed revenue from schools and communities to pay for road repairs. Find the loss to your school district here. The Senate plan to tax wholesale gas is a far better option. Tell lawmakers not to take from kids!

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Schools would lose millions under House road plan

Contact: Judy Putnam at (517) 487-5436

House plan to fix roads would divert millions from local school districts

LANSING, Mich. – Shortchanging Michigan’s 1.5 million public school students to pay for road repairs is bad policy and would stymie efforts to build a highly skilled workforce.

New estimates show staggering sums would be diverted from local school districts under a plan approved by the Michigan House last week. For example, Saginaw schools would lose an estimated $3.4 million a year if a House plan to divert sales tax to fix roads goes through, Lowell schools would give up $1.8 million, Marquette would be out $1.5 million a year, while Ann Arbor schools would lose $7.8 million.

“Enough is enough. Our kids must have the skills needed in a 21st century economy so that they can compete. This plan shortchanges our kids and our future,’’ said Gilda Z. Jacobs, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy.

Michigan voters in 1994 dramatically changed the way schools are funded, by lowering property taxes and raising the sales tax from 4 cents to 6 cents. The extra two cents was dedicated to schools and revenue sharing for communities. This includes sales tax on gasoline. Changing that now without replacement revenue violates the spirit and the voters’ intent of Proposal A.

“This is nothing short of a shell game. Proposal A brought higher sales taxes to offset the lowering of property taxes. Now to take those dollars to fix roads would solve one problem but create a far bigger one – fewer dollars for already stressed classrooms,’’ Jacobs said.

New estimates by district show a staggering impact from the House-approved plan to divert sales tax on fuel, now dedicated to schools and revenue sharing. The estimates are based on a report from the House Fiscal Agency estimates that schools would lose $634.1 million this year, rising to $888.7 million in 2022-23. The Michigan Association of School Boards has estimated an average loss of $475 per pupil per year.

More than 1,700 people have signed a League petition telling lawmakers to fix roads the right way. Taking from kids is the wrong way.

The Senate-approved plan supported by Gov. Rick Snyder is a far better option. It raises new revenue to pay for roads with a wholesale tax on fuel.

What is the impact on your district?

See the League’s report on road funding:

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