- Consumer Info
By Cami Pendell, Michigan Legislative Consultants
Although the legislature scheduled numerous Session days throughout the months of July and August, it has not yet formally met to take action on bills. It is expected that the earliest it will meet is the week of August 26th. However, just because Session hasn’t been taking place, that doesn’t mean that legislative activity has been at a standstill.
Legislators and the Governor continued to work throughout the summer months to see if an agreement can be reached on the state’s budget and to develop a plan to fix Michigan’s roads and transportation infrastructure. The Governor presented her road plan months ago and the Senate Republicans are expected to unveil their plan soon. The Senate GOP road plan is likely to propose:
• Eliminating the sales tax on gas and replacing that tax with a 15-cent gas tax (which would be nearly equivalent to the amount money collected under the sales tax) and dedicating it completely to the roads, and
• To replace that amount of funds that would be lost to the School Aid Fund by the repeal of the sales tax, they are expected to recommend taking bonds out against the teachers retirement system and extending out pension payments over additional years.
In the House, a 10-person Republican member workgroup has been charged with developing a roads proposal that can then be presented to their caucus for consideration. The internal rollout of the proposal is likely to take place in mid to late August.
To avoid a state government shut down, the legislature needs to finish its work on the budget and present it to the Governor for signature before October 1st. At this point, a shutdown doesn’t appear likely but as the new fiscal year approaches, the pressure to complete the process is starting to increase.
What does all of this mean for legislation that MLTA has been working on and monitoring? With so much attention on the two topics noted above, other issues have not been moving. Work and discussions are continuing to take place behind the scenes, but committees haven’t been meeting over the summer to take formal action on any bills or resolutions. Once the legislature returns to Session, then the pace of activity will certainly pick back up again and the association will be prepared to hit the ground running.