Will Business Leaders Push GOP On Roads?

Susan Demas from Michigan Advance writes:

During Snyder’s tenure, there was rarely any daylight between Republican politicians and business leaders. But on Thursday, Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Sandy Baruah was candid about a “growing split” between the two groups on infrastructure.

Business leaders have certainly enjoyed their tax breaks, but they’re feeling the heat from the budget tradeoffs that made them possible. It’s hard to convince investors and talent to come to Michigan when our roads and schools are literally crumbling before our very eyes.

Demas is making a similar argument I posed on this week’s LOL podcast.

Yes, the business sector enjoyed the former Republican administration’s massive tax breaks, but at what cost?

If businesses are complaining about not having enough qualified workers, or that too much talent is leaving the state, perhaps they’re realizing it’s time to invest in Michigan again.

But I’m skeptical of some in the business community.

Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer is proposing more money to fix the state’s roads, clean the state’s water, upgrade “below the surface” infrastructure, and reinvest in our schools.

To help pay for this, Whitmer’s proposing a 45-cent gas tax for roads, which businesses are considering.

But she’s keeping to her promise of eliminating the pension tax and increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit. To make that work, she needs money to offset these goals.

So, Whitmer’s pushing to expand the 6% corporate income tax to include LLC’s, S corporations, and sole proprietorships.

Whitmer’s getting push back by the Small Business Association of Michigan, which called her proposal “a step backward” and a “job killer.

And while the conservative Michigan Chamber of Commerce is open to the gas tax, but is strongly against Whitmer’s $280 million small business tax.

The governor is trying to change the culture of business that led us to where we are. Yet, I’m not convinced the business community is ready to accept that change.

Sure, maybe 6% CIT is too much of a hit to small businesses, but how about making that tax 3-4%?

Whatever happens, average Michiganders shouldn’t be the only ones expected to help fix the state from years of Republican mismanagement.

Because in the end, we all have to contribute. The business sector will benefit from revamped infrastructure and educational systems.

It stands to reason that they help-out, too.

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