Local gas and registration taxes?

Small business owners are not supportive of state legislation that would allow local governments to create their own gas taxes and vehicle registration fees. The results of a member survey by the state’s leading small business organization, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), show that a whopping 86% of its Michigan small business members oppose the concept.

House Republican Representative Jack O’Malley and Democratic Representative Tim Sneller have introduced legislation that would allow counties to levy their own registration fees or fuel taxes for roads. First, counties would have to get approval from a local vote of the people.

When asked if Michigan should pass legislation to allow local governments to create local gas taxes and vehicle registration fees for local roads, 86% of small business members said NO, 6% said YES, and 8% were undecided. A copy of the question text and results can be viewed HERE.

“Small business owners fear that allowing local governments to create their own gas taxes and vehicle registration fees would lead to a patchwork of local taxes around the state that would encourage motorists to drive elsewhere for gas or avoid moving into areas with these new fees and taxes,” said NFIB State Director in Michigan Charlie Owens.  “They are also concerned that local governments would purposely hold the voting on election dates when turn out is low to increase the likelihood of passage.”

Owens said that Governor Whitmer’s recent move to use bonding to finance road construction that does not include most local roads will put more pressure on the legislature to move a local funding option.

“Small business owners, and to a great extent, the general public are suffering from road funding fatigue,” said Owens. “There is well deserved skepticism towards proposals that claim to be for road funding but end up diverting the revenue raised into other budget projects that have nothing to do with roads.”

Owens said that small business would be receptive to a common sense road funding proposal that is reasonable and keeps the funding on state and local roads where it belongs.


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