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From our State Capitol in Lansing to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, WKAR is committed to explaining how the actions of lawmakers are affecting Michiganders. Political and government reporter Abigail Censky leads this section. There are also stories from Capitol correspondents Cheyna Roth, Rick Pluta and the Associated Press. As the 2020 presidential race begins, look here for reports on the role Michigan will play in electing or re-electing the president.

Gov. Whitmer To Propose 45 Cent Gas Tax Increase; $507 Million Education Increase In Budget

Gretchen Whitmer, inauguration
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) Michigan delivers inauguration remarks on January 1, 2019.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will propose a 45-cent increase in Michigan's gasoline and diesel taxes to fix the roads, phased in later this year and in 2020.

A spokeswoman for the Democrat confirmed her plan Monday, a day before she presents it to the Republican-led Legislature. Tiffany Brown says Whitmer also will propose "protections to help offset the cost to people's pocketbooks." She will elaborate further Tuesday.

Whitmer, who campaigned on a pledge to fix deteriorating roads that experts say will only worsen if nothing is done, wants to boost the 26-cents-a-gallon gas tax by 15 cents in October, an additional 15 cents in April 2020 and a final 15 cents in October 2020.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is also expected to propose a $507 million increase in K-12 classroom spending in her first budget.

The Associated Press obtained an overview of Whitmer's school-aid budget, which her administration is billing as the largest increase in classroom spending in 18 years.

The Democrat is expected to release the plan Tuesday.

The overview shows the plan includes a $180 per-student boost to the minimum allowance and substantial funding hikes to teach Michigan's low-income, vocational and special education students.

The plan also includes $235 million in additional base aid, amounting to a 2.5 percent bump, and a new "weighted" formula to factor in higher costs for certain students.

The governor also wants to triple the number of literacy coaches. A new law will eventually require third-graders to be held back if they lag in reading.

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