LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A group leading the campaign in favor of a sales tax increase for Michigan roads has raised more than $5 million in the past two months, far more than opponents, according to a report filed Friday.
Filings with the Secretary of State’s Office show much of the money for Safe Roads Yes! came from the construction industry.
The group has raised nearly $8 million so far. More than $5 million of that has come from the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association, a construction trade group.
Significant contributors for the most recent filing period included the Michigan Concrete Association, Michigan Health and Hospital Association and Powering the Economy, which is a political action committee for the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Safe Roads Yes! has used its fundraising to put out several TV ads urging voters to increase Michigan’s sales tax and put more money toward fixing roads.
If the constitutional amendment passes on May 5, Michigan’s 6 percent sales tax would increase to 7 percent and would no longer be applied to fuel.
Passage also would trigger already-signed laws that significantly increase and convert per-gallon gasoline and diesel taxes to ones fluctuating with price each year, create a new surcharge for electric cars, restore a larger tax credit for low-wage earners and no longer allow vehicle registration fees to depreciate.
The school aid fund would receive $292 million more in the fiscal year starting in October, and local governments would get $90 million in additional constitutionally required revenue-sharing payments from the state, according to a House Fiscal Agency analysis of the measure.
There are several groups registered with the state opposing Proposal 1, but their cumulative fundraising is far lower than the one group supporting the sales tax hike.
The anti-Proposal 1 group, Coalition Against Higher Taxes and Special Interest Deals, reported more than $420,000 from retired Saginaw-area businessman Paul Mitchell.
But Mitchell subsequently told the Detroit Free Press that the report was prepared by a volunteer and has errors. He said the group has raised and spent about $211,000, with much of it coming from him.
Mitchell spent $3.5 million of his own money last year on an unsuccessful run for U.S. House and another $153,000 on a super PAC criticizing then-Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Gary Peters.
Another anti-Proposal 1 group, Citizens Against Middle Class Tax Increases, is being led by Republican political consultant John Yob. The group reported raising nearly $11,000, of which $10,000 was from Yob.
Concerned Taxpayers of Michigan reported raising nearly $12,000. That group is affiliated with Tom McMillin, a Republican who served in Michigan’s House until reaching his term limit at the end of 2014.
The efforts by groups opposing Proposal 1 appear to have focused on radio ads and mailers so far, according to their expense reports filed with the state.
House Fiscal Agency analysis of Proposal 1: https://1.usa.gov/1Ol8T2Q
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