During a year-end interview with MIRS, Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen WHITMER (D-East Lansing) yesterday was asked whether the one-penny sales tax ballot proposal that that cleared the legislative lame duck was a punt.


“Yeah, I think so,” Whitmer said. “My colleagues are all going to say ‘nooo.’ But we haven’t enacted anything substantive for roads.”Whitmer, who will be ushered out of office due to term limits, contends there’s “some good policy” in the compromise, which is why she voted for it, but that at the end of the day the buck was passed.

“What we’ve done is we’ve asked the voters to do our dirty work and I’m frustrated by that,” she adds. “We took tough votes. We took tough votes with Republican senators. Coming together (in a) bipartisan (way) with the support of the business community, the labor community, educators . . . I mean the support of the Governor, the Mayor of Detroit — everyone supported what we did.”

Now the effort will require a massive educational effort, Whitmer contends. She said there was an assumption that certain groups “are going to fund that campaign, and I don’t think you can safely assume that because we haven’t had those conversations yet.”

One group some in the Capitol had suggested as a possible funder of a ballot education campaign was the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. However, Rich STUDLEY, president and CEO of the Chamber, expressed frustration early this morning via Twitter that lawmakers didn’t tackle the issue.

In a statement released today, Studley said “we’re disappointed that after almost two years of debate, full-time lawmakers, who were in session throughout the year, waited until the last day and closing hours of a lame duck session to pass the buck to voters instead of doing their job.”

Studley said the Michigan Chamber’s Board will be reviewing the proposal to determine what, if any, position the group will take on the ballot proposal.