Channel 19

Todd Dills

Fuel-tax dustup in MI (Can you spell I – F – T – A?)

| January 22, 2013

When a reader wrote in to the Port Huron (Michigan) Times-Herald newspaper recently with an idea to “charge all these truckers and people coming in from out of state to pay their share of the road taxes,” the paper set him straight, but only partly. Editors failed to mention that today, truckers running in Michigan do “pay their share of the road taxes” via IFTA’s distribution system, based on the number of miles run in the state’s borders.

The state’s governor’s road- and bridge-cost woes have been in the news recently, with Gov. Rick Snyder calling for elimination of the gas and diesel taxes paid at the pump in favor of taxing fuel at the rack — taking a percentage of the wholesale value, which would of course be paid by fuel marketers and passed along to the consumer in the pump prices. The resulting wholesale tax at today’s prices could be as much as two times what the tax is today, 15 cents, resulting in a per-gallon premium of an equal amount on fuel bought in the state.

The Times-Herald’s editors made note of the Constitution’s commerce clause, which “makes targeting out-of-state trucks illegal,” they said. “And because our taxes are already higher than most other states, they buy fuel elsewhere. I’m thinking Snyder’s plan won’t cost them a nickel.”

And yes, fewer might buy there under Snyder’s wholesale plan, I’d guess. If you did it would cost you indeed, though, and perhaps irrespective of how many miles you actually ran there, given that the retail tax would be removed and IFTA may no longer apply there.

My question of the day? Well, would that constitute targeting truckers unfairly — and be a violation of the commerce clause?

If Snyder and his allies in the state Congress are successful, time will tell.

  • Craig Hansen

    This is just another case of “the people” not knowing what we truckers actually pay. Any added cost would likely be added to any loads to or from Michigan. For the same boneheaded ideas being implemented by California’s CARB and a few other states like New Jersey’s corporate taxes being shoved down our throats many of us O/O’s have either gotten out of trucking or as in my case scaled back our operating radius to only more truck friendly states. The days of the O/O’s being kings of the road are pretty much a part trucking history. I have seen many changes in 30+ years some good,like the trucks being greatly improved in safety and creature comforts and some not so good like NAFTA. I have seen folks operating trucks who do not speak, read, or write the English language. What is next highway signage in several languages, Europe does that! Good God we need to change our ways to suit them you know. It is the PC thing to do.
    I glad I’m getting old guys….the changes are too much for this trucker from the old school.I just hope rates will rise enough across the board so I can actually afford to retire someday! But it is hard to compete when the rail is insured by the Feds, sets my rate to haul with them, and then cuts my throat using my tax dollars for long haul loads. Or what about all those Federally funded loans for immigrants, great, now I help pay (with my tax dollars) so more non english speaking truckers out there who will play the cut throat rate game just to go broke and get yet another Federally funded loan. Until America herself wakes up and “we the people” who actually pay for all these bogus progams cut the funding off we will continue to hang ourselves with our own rope in the tree in our own front yard! I just hope we don’t act too late.

  • Herb Williams

    Amen, brother!

  • Don Lanier

    Citizens of Michigan complaining about the QUALITY of there roads and blaming trucks….we should be able to Bill WEAR AND TEAR costs on Michigan as the roads there are some of the worst Ive ever travelled, and after a recent snowstorm where NO salt, or snowplows were in use and accidents and crazy drivers were the norm. Michigan should pay me to drive there…from Toledo to Detroit I feel like Im on a thrill ride…we pay our fair share fo tax but yes if your Legislature raises the price of fuel via tax I will buy less fuel in your state. Im in Business and have to use common sense and if fuel is 1.00 per gallon more exp then Ill go elsewhere. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.