Washington Post endorses Whitmer’s gas tax, calls it a national ‘model’

By: - March 10, 2019 10:23 am

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at the Fiscal Year 2020 budget presentation | Casey Hull

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s 45-cent tax hike to fix roads has gotten plenty of negative local coverage, but she’s picked up a big endorsement from the Washington Post, calling it a “model” for other states.

“Ms. Whitmer’s plan is solid. Other states should take notice — and so should Congress,” the editorial board writes.

Here’s how the editorial begins:

AS IN many places in the United States, Michigan’s roads need work. A quarter of the state’s roads are in poor shape, according to the Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council — and that proportion is rising fast. Many have eroded so much they must be totally replaced, because they are no longer fixable. The state’s transportation department says it needs $1.5 billion for state roads, and that doesn’t include the amount necessary to repair local byways.

Identifying the problem, in Michigan and in many other states, is the easy part. The hard part is figuring out how to pay for a solution. And it is on this question that new Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has stepped up, proposing to nearly triple Michigan’s gasoline tax over two years. Her plan has already encountered Republican resistance. But hiking the gas tax is the most reasonable way to deal with the undeniable infrastructure problems — in Michigan and across the country.

That’s on the heels of an endorsement from conservative Detroit News editorial page Editor Nolan Finley, who called the tax “necessary,” although he added it would be “painful,” echoing the sentiment of many business groups.

Hitting Trump on GM layoffs

Elsewhere in national news, the liberal Center for American Progress Advocacy Fund is spending $1 million on social media ads slamming President Donald Trump for General Motors layoffs in Ohio and Michigan.

Politico reports the campaign blasts the president for “handing out tax breaks to big corporations like GM” in the wake of plant closings:

Late last year, GM had reported a tax benefit of at least $157 million as a result of Republican tax reform legislation passed in 2017.

“They’re decimating entire communities,” a 20-year GM worker says in a video that will be played over various social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. “It’s not just the 3,500 workers at General Motors it’s all the surrounding businesses. When Donald Trump came to town and said he was going to fix it — they believed.”

As the Advance previously reported, Trump complained about GM’s layoffs to Whitmer during her White House visit with other governors last month.

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Susan J. Demas

Susan J. Demas is a 23-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on C-SPAN, MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQ people, the state budget, the economy and more. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 100 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive.