Many people in Michigan want both an increase in funding for fixing our roads and auto insurance reform, Governor Whitmer might be up for that deal.

The Detroit News is reporting that Governor Whitmer may be willing to combine both road funding and auto insurance reform in one major deal.

Governor Whitmer told the Detroit News:

I am open to that…My first priority is the budget, but I could envision a scenario where I signed the budget and six seconds later signed insurance relief

Our Governor believes that the cost of her 45 cents per gallon tax increase for both fixing our roads and increasing funding for education would average the typical Michigan driver about $23 a month or $276 per year.

Looking to offset the additional tax of 45 cents per gallon Governor Whitmer stated:

Insurance costs are well in excess of that. If we can give people some relief on the insurance side and actually make the investment in our infrastructure, I would consider that a win-win.

Michigan’s Republican House Speaker Lee Chatfied, stated that the House may not be open to combining the two issues when he stated through his spokesperson:

The speaker is not interested in trading good policy for bad…Michigan families have waited decades for progress on no fault reform, and they deserve real rate relief. What good does it do to save Michigan families hundreds of dollars on their auto insurance if you are just going to immediately take it all back with a massive, back-breaking 45-cent tax hike at the pump?

Michigan’s Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, stated through his spokesperson that he does necessarily want to address putting more money toward roads and reduce the cost of car insurance in a single deal.  His spokesperson stated that Leader Shirkey:

is not focused on crafting a ‘deal,’ but rather on finding solutions to both problems

My thought is if you can do both at once then let us hear what that deal sounds like because the devil is always in the detail.  As an example Governor has never publicly stated her thoughts on what drives Michigan’s high auto insurance rates and that is our unique requirement of lifetime medical benefits for injured motorists.  We also do not know her thoughts on mandating a fee schedule for medical providers.  The charges that medical providers charge for lifetime medical needs also is driving up the cost of auto insurance.

Governor Whitmer said yesterday that she wants to ensure that people with “catastrophic injuries will have some protection."  That being said we have no idea what she would be willing to discuss concerning Michigan’s high auto insurance rates.

The Michigan Senate and House Republicans are each developing alternative road funding proposals in response to Governor Whitmer’s plan.  Senator Shirkey stated last week that the Senate’s plan would be:

dramatically different than a 45-cent gas tax increase

Let us see what plan Michigan’s House and Senate has on their mind for funding increased spending on our roads and then compare the two.  Remember State Senator Bison informed me on my radio show that we are at full employment for people who work on our roads so he does not know how they would spend more money on road infrastructure.

If a combining the two issues into one deal makes sense then perhaps we should consider it, if not then we must move on.

The Live with Renk show airs Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to noon, to let me know your thoughts call (269) 441-9595