Gov. Rick SnyderGov. Rick SNYDER and the four legislative leaders are moving toward a package that raises money for the roads, without forcing lawmakers to directly do it, and hike state support for education at the same time.

There is movement toward a one-penny sales tax increase that voters could decide on this November. They are not there, yet, but the signals all appear to be good at this read.

MIRS has also learned that as part of the ballot language to boost the sales tax from six to seven cents would be a provision to protect the state’s prevailing wage law, which Democrats, in this post Right to Work climate, are seeking to nail down and reportedly have the Governor’s blessing in so doing.

Negotiations among Snyder, Senate Majority Leader Randy RICHARDVILLE (R-Monroe), House Speaker Jase BOLGER, Senate Minority Leader GretchenWHITMER (D-East Lansing) and House Minority Leader Tim GREIMEL (D-Auburn Hills) continued this past week.

The plan’s selling point is that lawmakers will not be forced to vote for any gas tax or fee increase to come up with the $1.2 billion the Governor requested almost 18 months ago.

By using all of the sales tax now collected at the pump and diverting that from schools and cities to the roads, that would provide the $1.2 billion.  The one-penny sales tax, if approved by the voters, will raise enough to replace the $700 million and $500 million that the pump sales tax now provides for schools and cities.  In other words, they would be held, harmless but that would depend on lawmakers putting up a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate to place the plan before voters and giving it their final blessing.

Internal polling data suggests placing a tax hike on the ballot for the roads is a non-starter or as Whitmer put it the other day, “It doesn’t get you to the finish line.” There is optimism that a sales tax hike for schools would get more favorable support at the polls.

Among the items yet to be ironed out is defining where the extra education dollars will end-up. Some want a piece for higher education and the school lobby would likely want more for the foundation grant, which has taken some hits in recent years.

One source familiar with the talks suggest Bolger may have a “problem” getting that two-thirds vote in the House. One insider suggests the same formula that was used on the Medicaid expansion bill could be used here.

Recall, Democrats put up most of the votes with Republicans contributing between 25 and 30. They are all working against an early Sept. 6 deadline for placing the sales tax question on the November ballot.

Lawmakers are slated to be back in town at the end of August with a likely vote on the sales tax package tentatively set for Sept. 4.  Should the vote come that day it would likely take place before sundown, which marks the beginning of Rosh Hashanah.