A new statewide survey suggests that Michigan citizens are willing to raise taxes as long as somebody else pays for the increases. The polling data is important as lawmakers and the governor seek ways to raise new revenue for the roads.
Researchers asked 1,000 citizens what kind of tax increases they would support, and the vast majority said, as long as somebody else is paying for them, we would support the following: A polluters pay tax, taxing drinkers, smokers and gamblers and taxing those who take resources out of the environment. The sales tax, however, was close with 49 percent in favor and 47 percent against. Meanwhile, only 31 percent supported a local tax.
But researcher John Austin claims citizens are willing to tax themselves if they know where the money is going.
"If you can explain exactly how you can align it with what they care about, you see higher numbers than that overall survey question," he explained.
As for the governor's efforts to somehow raise more money for the roads, the polling results suggest that the governor needs to target those who are "abusing the roads."
"They want the people that abuse and use the roads or pollute the most -- heavy trucks, gas guzzlers, it's almost the flip of what Randy Richardville was proposing -- let's tax those who are polluting the most to pay for the things that we value like good roads," said Austin.
Republicans have argued for years that if you cut taxes, the state's economy will grow. But the research suggests a majority believe that government should invest in services and tax cuts won't cut it.
"Only 29% said that was the way you grow jobs," Austin said. "64% said invest in education and in our communities and in our great outdoors, that creates conditions where this is a state people want to live and work and not leave."
As for what impact this report will have on raising taxes, don't expect that to happen soon, if at all.