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Proposal 1 backers use a school bus to educate voters about sales tax ballot question

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

There’s one week to go before Michigan voters decide if they will support a one penny increase to the state sales tax. 

Union supporters will spend part of this week towing a school bus around the state.    You’ll know it if you see it. It’s the one with a massive concrete block crushing its windshield.

It’s an arresting image, even if it’s a manufactured one. National union groups made the school bus prop in order to dramatize the need for more federal and state spending to repair and replace aging roads and bridges.

“This really highlights the need to have safe roads that transport our school children, for folks to be able to get to work safely,” says Jonathan Byrd, the legislative director with the Michigan Laborers union. 

Byrd says, after a stop today in Flint, the school bus will make stops in Lansing, Niles, Monroe and Detroit this week.  

He says he hopes the school bus prop will get the message across.

“What Proposal One will do will insure that all the money that we collect at the pump goes towards fixing our roads.  And I think that’s something everyone can agree on," says Byrd.

Critics do disagree. They complain the complicated proposal will channel money to special interests.

Prop 1 would increase the state sales tax from 6 to 7 percent.  It would raise an additional $1.6 billion dollars. $1.2 billion would be earmarked for roads.

In addition to more money for roads, Proposal 1 will insure schools and local governments will not lose funding from eliminating the sales tax on fuel for vehicles.     

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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