LANSING, MI (WLNS) – They do not have a deal yet, but a new air of optimism has engulfed the closed door discussion on how to raise taxes to fix the roads.
6 News Capitol Correspondent Tim Skubick is keeping an eye on those talks and the governor is telling him they are very constructive.
“The good point is we’re having these constructive discussions,” said Governor Rick Snyder.
Reporter: “Is the only thing left is to resolve the tax issue?”
Governor Snyder: “There’s a number of issues. This is a difficult issue to work through.”
That air of optimism that you might expect from the governor was confirmed by the other players in the room.
“I really think this is the most constructive conversation that I’ve been a party of since we started talking a year and a half ago,” said State Senator Randy Richardville, senate republican leader.
And that attitude reflected on a bi-partisan basis.
“There’s no yelling. People are all in the room and we all agree to come back, so we’re starting to look at the broader concept. But now it’s time to drill down and see if we can’t come up with something that actually raises the necessary revenue,” said Gretchen Whitmer, senate democratic leader.
Democrat Whitmer says it is helpful that the GOP speaker is now willing to discuss raising taxes but Mr. Bolger wants something from the democrats in return.
But the democrats also wanted something in addition to new revenue for the roads. They want tax relief for motorist who will pay more for their fuel.
“We think it’s an opportunity to have a discussion about other issues that are out there, but in no way is this being done in a way to poison the debate or stop anything from moving,” said State Representative Brandon Dillon (d), West Michigan.
The key negotiators were moving back into closed door meetings to begin to weed out which tax hike options will fly and which will be ditched.
Prior to the 1 p.m. session the governor was saying, “I can’t guarantee the outcome but the people are working in good faith trying to resolve that.”