Friday, February 27, 2009

Union Lobbyists Push Gas Tax Increase Through

The state of Michigan is considering changing its gas tax structure from a flat 19 cents a gallon to a percentage, according to a report this a.m. on WJR’s Frank Beckman Show. The group that has made its pitch for years to increase gas taxes is called the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association (MITA), a non-profit group that states as its top mission in reporting its financial workings to state and federal government, “industrial labor contract negotiations.” Coupled with another of its stated missions, “lobbying,” MITA is quite simply another union front group that has gained particular heft in the past eight years.
The equation is simple: More money for roads means more work for union workers. Beckman this morning told of a possible 18% tax on the price of gas, which would approximately double the tax cost of fuel in the state. Vehicle registration fees are also set to increase, Beckman said.
In December 2007, Gov. Jennifer Granholm resisted MITA’s call for a higher gas tax under a plan that would max it at 28 cents a gallon in 2010:
"I think raising a gas tax now is impossible, because people are hurting. I think we have to look at other ways to fund transportation."
Things are worse now. But an increase is on the way.
Which is fine for the folks at MITA, particularly those salaried employees who work there.
In 2006, the last year the group’s tax records are available (see below), executive vp Robert Patzer made $240,000. Michael Nystrom, the group’s lobbyist, was paid $124,200. And vp of member services Robert Coppersmith’s salary was $101,000.
The guess is that these salaries are much higher these days. And that increased gas tax? File that under “creates jobs.” If you don’t someone will. Just wait and see.
MITA 990 2006

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