Tim Skubick: Schauer mum on how he'd fix roads - KMSP-TV

Tim Skubick: Schauer mum on how he'd fix roads

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For weeks the state GOP has been hitting  hard the Democratic candidate for governor for not having a “plan” to fix Michigan.  Never mind that Mark Schauer’s squad thinks it’s a wrong-headed attack, the Republicans think they are onto something and won’t let go.

Against that backdrop then Mr. Schauer and his new running mate Lisa Brown showed up at a news conference and boldly announced, in the wake of a tsunami of pots holes around the state, that one of their top priorities would be fixing the roads.

So. Everybody says that.  The tricky part is how the heck to pay for it.

Gov. Rick Snyder doddled for over a year before finally getting off the fence calling for a wholesale gas tax and a registration fee boost which members of his own party proceeded to deep-six before the ink was even dry on the news release.  Republicans stiffing their governor?  Nothing new there.

Enter Mark Schauer who was asked about  road funding sources and he offered up this ditty: The state needs a “dedicated revenue source.”

He was asked in the news conference if that nifty term meant a tax increase?

He would not say either way.

Hum.

Given a chance after the meeting, he was pressed again if he thought a tax hike would be needed?

He danced around it with stuff about not borrowing money from schools to fix the roads. He wanted a balanced approach and a bi-partisan solution that he was willing to work toward.   That was all well and good, but the more he rattled on, it was apparent he was not going to answer the tax hike question.

Instead he offered this, “I’m not prepared to talk about particular ways to solve the problem.”

Double hum.

When will he be prepared?  After the election?

Was he shying away because it would be “politically dangerous” to say he was for or against a tax hike?

With that he countered, “This is not about politics.  This is about leadership.”

Some might argue his  obtuse response was all about politics and that leadership means taking a stance on the tax hike question.

Saying that he was “not prepared” to talk specific solutions played, whether he knew it or not, into the hands of the GOP on the charge that he has no plan.  

Asked to comment on all this, the Schauer folks recall that their guy “has actually walked the walk on roads.”  He voted for Gov. John Engler’s gas tax hike and while in Congress, he voted $847 million to fix roads here.

And on the tax hike necessity, he had a different answer when interviewed on WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids.

He bemoaned the fact that middle class taxpayers and others have “seen their taxes raised to provide a corporate tax cut” and he didn’t want to have them pay again, but then he adds, “I’m not saying they won’t be part of this solution” but the business community “needs to be part of that equation as well.”

Notice he did not say there would be a tax hike but he left the door open which is different than saying he was not ready to offer a solution now.

To be fair the Governor has nothing on Mr. Schauer  regarding not taking stances on issues, but when a candidate from either side says he has a top priority, doesn’t the voting public have a right to know what your specific solution might be?
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