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Letter - Petroleum industry lobbyist’s figures on gas tax were flawed

Tuesday, September 7, 2010   (0 Comments)
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Lansing, MI - The viewpoint from Mark Griffin of the Michigan Petroleum Association, "Voters should decide how to fund state road repair" (Sentinel, Tuesday, Aug. 31), contained misleading mathematics. Michigan does not have one of the highest gas taxes in the country. In fact, we are in the bottom half of states, having been frozen at 19 cents per gallon for over 10 years. It's Michigan's sales tax, which goes to schools rather than roads, that the writer includes in his calculations, thus inflating the figure substantially. 


For purposes of explaining to voters how we rank in fuel taxes, the petroleum industry lobbyist includes sales tax in his calculations. Then, when he calculates that an 8-cent gas tax boost would represent a 40 percent increase in gas taxes, he leaves sales taxes out of the calculations. The sleight-of-hand trick is designed to confuse Michigan voters. 


Mr. Griffin suggests that we should get rid of the state gas and diesel taxes and replace them with a 1 percent increase in the state sales tax. Such a plan would do nothing to increase critically needed state road funding, as the cut in revenues would roughly be the same as the increase. But it certainly would provide a nice windfall tax break to Big Oil. 


Mike Nystrom 

Executive Director 

Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association 


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