From the DETROIT FREE PRESS
LANSING — A second ballot committee has formed to oppose the Michigan sales tax and road funding proposal on the May 5 ballot, and a third committee will be formed soon, a spokesman said Monday.
The Coalition Against Higher Taxes and Special Interest Deals registered with the Michigan Secretary of State on Thursday, state records show.
The group’s treasurer, Paul Mitchell of Saginaw County, said in a news release Monday the complex proposal is “a hodgepodge of bad ideas,” and “our voters deserve better than this.”
Mitchell’s group is the second one formed to oppose the ballot proposal. A group called Protect MI Taxpayers was formed in Grand Rapids and announced in December.
Also Monday, Concerned Taxpayers of Michigan director Adam de Angeli said his group would be forming a committee to oppose the ballot question in the next two weeks. He said former state representative Tom McMillin, a Rochester Hills Republican, would lead a grassroots campaign for his group.
“From a strategic perspective, the more groups out there trying to raise awareness on this, the better,” de Angeli said. “We’re fighting for the same cause.”
The proposal, which would increase the state sales tax to 7% from 6% and remove the sales tax from fuel sales, would raise $1.2 billion a year for road and bridge repairs, $300 million for K-12 schools, $100 million for transit, and about $95 million for local governments.
Mitchell, who spent millions of his own money in an unsuccessful bid for the GOP nomination in Michigan’s 4th congressional district in August, said the cost of the proposal totals $2 billion when another piece of legislation linked to the road deal — full restoration of the Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income families — is included.
“Voters should not have to subsidize the special interest deals with higher taxes in order to fix our roads,” said Mitchell, who is chairman of the Faith & Freedom Coalition of Michigan, a conservative social and fiscal policy group affiliated with a national group headed by Ralph Reed.
“Special interests were tacked on to this proposal to ensure passage, not because they were the right thing to do.”
Lawmakers sent the plan to the ballot during the lame-duck session in December after they couldn’t agree on a legislative package to raise more than $1 billion extra a year for roads.