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Whitmer: Gas Tax Increase Is Economically Responsible

Michigan Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer
Amanda Pinckney

Governor Gretchen Whitmer toured an elementary school in Flint Monday to call attention to the fact that schools have started their academic year, but they don’t know how much financial support to expect from the state.

Potter Elementary School has no air conditioning. Signs taped across drinking fountains tell kids and staff not to use them because the water still hasn’t been tested for lead. The school pays for water dispensers instead.

In her budget proposal, Whitmer has asked the Republican-led Legislature to move more money to low-income schools.

She says there’s not enough money for schools, just like there’s not enough money for roads. And she says the solution is going to taxpayers for more revenue. She says bonding and borrowing are out of the question – especially as the economy shows signs of softening.

“That’s why I’m not entertaining any of those as solutions,” she said. “We need to get this budget done. It needs to be honest. It needs to actually solve the problems that we’re confronting as a state.”

Whitmer says the Legislature’s Republican leaders need to call lawmakers back to Lansing to start bargaining on the budget. Schools started their 2019 academic year without knowing how much financial support they’ll get from the state. The state’s new fiscal year starts Oct. 1.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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