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Whitmer wrong to blame GOP for budget

Let’s go back three years when the gas tax went from 19 cents a gallon to 26 cents a gallon. State Rep. Peter Pettalia and Sen. Jim Stamas with fellow legislators took months of talking to citizens, transportation officials and county road commissions. They put together a comprehensive plan for road repairs. The timeframe allowed for the MDOT to schedule projects – and revenues to accumulate to allow repairs on a timely realistic schedule for Michigan winters/construction season. Everyone was elated with the plan. It addressed infrastructure which includes bridges, airports and roads. The tax was estimated to “not be enough” but an improved economy meant more revenues. Optimistically, more funding would be available. Anyone notice how good the economy is right now?

Whitmer’s proposal of a 45-cent increase includes funding for what she calls “other priorities” — schools and a college scholarship programs. It is commonly reported in The News from several sources that “not one single Democrat would put forth a bill to increase the tax.” Yet Whitmer blames Republicans for not working with her. It is also documented that increased funding does not improve test scores.

Sen. Stamas:

“Senate Bill 149 would invest $5.4 billion in transportation in FY 2020. The K-12 school budget would invest more than $15.2 billion in K-12 education … increasing school support by nearly $400 million and $400 million to help improve local roads and bridges.

“This week the Legislature voted to send the governor a balanced fiscal year 2020 budget that increases investments in key priorities while living within the state’s means.”

Contact SenJStamas@senate.michigan.gov; gophouse.org/representatives/northernmi/allor

KAREN PETTALIA,

Presque Isle