Michigan House speaker: 45-cent-a-gallon gas tax hike is ‘nonstarter'

Capitol building in Lansing, Michigan. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

LANSING, Mich. - A top lawmaker says Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s proposed 45-cents-a-gallon fuel tax increase is a “nonstarter” for Republicans.

House Speaker Lee Chatfield said Thursday that residents “cannot afford it” and are “furious.” His comments come a day after Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey also criticized the Democratic governor’s plan .

Whitmer says raising gasoline and diesel taxes is the “smartest, quickest” way to generate the $2 billion-plus annually needed to fix roads that will worsen if nothing is done, but she is open to other ideas as long as they provide a “real solution.”

Chatfield says Michigan should ensure that all taxes paid at the pump go to roads. Much of the sales tax on fuel goes to schools and local governments.

He says House Republicans will propose a road-funding plan.

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