Traverse City Voters Participate in Proposal 1 Forum

 Voters doing everything they can to understand proposal one ahead of the May 5th election.

Proposal one is complex. It would raise the sales tax to help with local government and education funding. It would also eliminate the sales tax on gas, and levy a wholesale gas tax, raising billions to fix Michigan roads.

Many agree our roads need to be fixed…but at what cost. “It’s going to be a very important piece of legislation because it changes the constitution,” says Noel Kurth, Traverse City voter.

Networks Northwest Regional Planner shared information on the condition of the roads in the region and Citizens Research Council provided a neutral overview of proposal one. “We’re trying to help folks understand what it means to them, we think with the proposal does two things with motor fuel taxes, it raises our gasoline tax but it also takes the sales tax that we currently pay on gasoline out of the pump price. We think it’ll be a 10 cent per gallon increase in pump prices as the result of Prop 1 if it is approved,” says Bob Schneider, director of state affairs at Citizens Research Council.

It’s clear people remain confused and on the fence about the issue. Kurth says, “The problem is though that the legislation is structured, it’s complex and so while you will gain the opportunity for road improvement, it’s also going to be expensive because it will amend the state constitution to increase the sales tax.”

Many at the forum agreed that the roads are horrible and need to be fixed soon but unsure of where the money will actually go if the proposal passes. “If it will do what they say it’s going to do I hope it passes, and frankly I’m not sure how I’m going to vote because I’m still not to the point where I’m confident that I understand it well enough to say I really support this,” says John Ellinger, Traverse City voter.

Last minute forums like this give people every opportunity to become educated about the issue, but many fear it’s not enough. Ellinger says, “I’m a positive kind of person but I’m very frustrated with this particular proposal because it seems like the legislature is giving us so much to think about and added so many things into this that I’m afraid a lot of people either won’t go to the polls or will go without a full understanding.”

This same exact forum was held earlier Wednesday in Cadillac. For more information on Proposal 1, Citizens Research Council posted