Raise sales tax to fix roads? Retails say 'no' - KPTV - FOX 12

Raise sales tax to fix roads? Retails say 'no'

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Potholes -- a familiar sight to drivers across the state. Potholes -- a familiar sight to drivers across the state.

Would you pay a higher sales tax to fix Michigan's roads?

Some state lawmakers are kicking around the idea of raising the sales tax to pay for road and bridge repair work. And while it's no surprise retailers are against it, we're getting an idea from them of just how drastic the impact might be.

"It would put the retailer at a huge disadvantage when selling product," said Larry Gorske, with Frank's Great Outdoors. Gorske doesn't mince any words. He's against raising the state sales tax to eight percent from its current six percent level. 

Some lawmakers say the tax increase would be one way to fund badly needed road and bridge repairs in the state. Lawmakers say if the tax is raised, the state would also be able to eliminate the sales tax on fuel. 

But Gorske outlined how such an increase would have a negative effect on him. He cites fish finders he sells that go for a few hundred dollars that carry a small markup.  Customers tell him even now it's cheaper for them to buy those items over the Internet from a seller out of state, because they avoid paying tax.

"And when it has a small markup, we lose the advantage from another state, the customer can buy from another state and we lose eight percent markup, and when there's only ten or twelve percent markup, it's an impossible task to field, it'd be a total disadvantage," said Gorske.

TV5 talked with a retailer who sells motorcycle parts to get his thoughts on the proposed tax increase.

Bubba Philipp has sold motorcycle parts in Bay County for 27 years. He says a sales tax increase just isn't a good idea. "People are having a hard time supporting their local businesses now, with another two percent, people are not going to buy as much," said Philipp. "It's another tax, I don' think we need another tax."

Lawmakers would have to get voters statewide to okay such a tax increase, and it could happen as soon as this May. But Philipp doesn't think such a tax has much chance of passing. "We need more money in people's pockets, not less, and any new tax is not going to fix anything in Michigan, it's going to hurt business more than anything," said Philipp.

Lawmakers would need two-thirds support from the Republican controlled State House and Senate to put a sales tax measure before voters this May.

Copyright 2013 WNEM (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.


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