By ZEINAB NAJM
HEIGHTS — League of Women Voters Dearborn/Dearborn Heights representatives explained the details of Proposal 1 at a public forum April 20 at Caroline Kennedy Library.
The proposal will be the only item on the ballot during the special election May 5.
If the proposal passes there will be a 1 percent increase in retail sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent. Michigan currently ranks 37th among states for sales tax rates in the country.
Also, the proposal will eliminate the current sales tax on regular and diesel fuel which will be replaced with a new percentage-based fuel tax solely for funding roads.
The proposal is planned to increase the amount of use tax dedicated to the School Aid Fund and expand the use of the fund to community colleges and career, technical education as well.
Other revenue changes include eliminating a 10 percent discount on vehicle registration that new car buyers received for the first three years of ownership.
Annual fees for heavy commercial trucks will increase and a surtax for hybrid and electric vehicles will be imposed.
The Michigan Department of Transportation estimates that Wayne County will receive an increase of $12.4 million in addition to the current $59.1 million the county receives.
The sales tax increase is projected to raise almost $1.3 billion in new transportation money beginning in 2017.
Eva Packard, voters service director for the League of Women Voters Michigan, explained the breakdown of how the almost $1.2 billion will be distributed.
“Of the $1.3 billion an estimated $1.2 billion will go directly to roads,” she said. “There will be $490 million for the state road fund, $490 million for county road commissions and $273 million to local cities or villages.”
Packard also informed possible voters where the additional sales tax money would go.
“About $442 million will go toward the state general fund, $200 million per year for local schools and another $111 million to local government,” she said.
The LWV is a non-partisan political organization dedicated to making democracy work through voter education, issue advocacy and citizen participation. Their mission is to inform and educate and not support or oppose any political party or candidates.
Packard explained the proposal revenue and expenditures, ballot wording, supporters views and opponents views.
Michigan, as a state, invests $154 per person in roads, according to MDOT.
Other Midwest states Ohio, Minnesota, Indiana, Wisconsin and Illinois invest $214, $275, $289, $302 and $412 per person on their roads, respectively.
A 2013 MDOT study also found that Michigan has the highest annual individual vehicle repair costs at $357 per driver compared to five other Great Lakes states.
Officials and leaders including Gov. Rick Snyder and Dearborn Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. held a press conference last month at Dearborn Fire Station No. 2 urging the public to vote yes on the proposal.
For more information on the proposal go to saferoadsyes.com.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at email@example.com.)