Greg MacMaster for State SenatePRESS RELEASE April 17th, 2014 KEWADIN, MI — On April 3rd, House Transportation Chairman Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City) participated in a press conference and issued a press release announcing a transportation reform proposal. (A reproduction of Schmidt’s actual press release headline and press conference photo are attached to this email.)
Two weeks later, during a radio interview with WTCM-AM 580, Schmidt repeatedly distanced himself from the very proposal he helped unveil. (Excerpted audio of Schmidt’s repeated distancing of himself from the proposal is attached to this email).
What changed? On April 10th, Schmidt let slip during an interview with Bridge Magazine that the transportation reform proposal was just “the first bite,” and that while the proposal was revenue neutral for now, “lawmakers could increase the fuel tax in a lame-duck session.”
Schmidt’s implication that a second bite could come during a lame duck session ignited a firestorm of controversy that the third-term legislator had a secret plan to raise the gas tax, which would violate Governor Rick Snyder’s (as well as Schmidt’s) pledge to support greater government openness and transparency.
The governor subsequently distanced himself from Schmidt’s comment, saying during a radio interview with WTCM-AM 580 that he hoped the issue could be addressed now. (Excerpted audio of the governor’s comments are attached to this email).
While Schmidt’s gas tax position has been all over the map during the past two weeks, State Rep. Greg MacMaster (R-Kewadin) has been clear: A tax increase should be a last option, not a first impulse. There are alternatives available, including proposals by members of the Senate as well as legislation introduced by MacMaster. Additionally, before a discussion of a tax increase is even considered, taxpayers deserve to know exactly why roads are in the shape they’re in despite the fact that they’re already paying the 6th highest gas tax in the country.
Finally, exactly one year ago yesterday Schmidt told MIRS “I’m not going to fool people. There’s going to be an increase to get the roads in better shape.” Does the Transportation Chairman still believe that? What does he believe? It’s hard to tell from his all-over-the-map comments of the past two weeks. State Rep. Greg MacMaster believes the time has come for the Transportation Chairman to come clean with Michigan taxpayers regarding his intentions with the gas tax.