Our newly elected governor has already come up with an innovative and unique solution to “fix the damn roads.” She is increasing the gas tax by 45¢ per gallon, which will eventually cost each Michigan driver about $400 per year.

 Wow, what a ground-breaking, innovative and original concept.

 I am at a loss for words. Wait, no I’m not … I am outraged and infuriated at Whitmer’s “solution.” I’m also wondering why there was no effort put forth to raise the money needed to fix our roads by eliminating outdated Michigan programs that cavalierly waste millions of our hard-earned tax dollars. Example: The difference between the average state employee pay rate and what the state of Michigan currently pays state employees is ridiculous. On average, the total compensation for a state worker, including salary and benefits, was $118,860 in 2017. If Michigan employees were benchmarked to the average Michigan private sector employee, the state would save an estimated $5.7 billion annually. That would fix all the roads — three times over — in just one year.

 Clearly, the governor does not realize that her decision to create additional tax burdens on the populace will actually increase our cost of living in pretty much every way possible. When you increase the gas tax, you also automatically increase the cost of nearly every product and service we require to live our lives.

 Do you like food? Me too. Unfortunately, most of our food is now grown and produced in far-away locations. That means most of our food must be trucked thousands of miles across the U.S.A. to the hundreds of Michigan grocery stores that sell them to us, at a higher cost due to the higher fuel costs.

 Nearly everything we purchase is delivered to merchants by trucks. Trucks use millions of gallons of gas. Who do you think will end up paying more for everything? The answer is you … and me, and every other Michigan resident.

 The economic ripple of Whitmer’s increased taxation plan will be devastating. Sales of SUVs and trucks, which accounted for over 50 percent of U.S. market share in 2017, will plummet. A 45-cent per gallon gas tax increase will kill that market and result in thousands of autoworkers losing their jobs.

 According to a study by JPMorgan Chase, it is estimated that consumers spent 80 cents of every dollar saved on gas on personal consumption. However, when gas prices surge, consumer sentiment always takes a hit. Consumers stop spending and businesses suffer, with many closing their doors.

 Home sales are dramatically affected by the unease created by rising gas costs. Consumer spending will plummet in all discretionary areas, especially in the entertainment and restaurant industries.

 Tens of thousands of Michigan workers will lose their jobs, creating more welfare recipients being dependent on state programs for food and housing. Many will turn to the state for financial assistance in the form of unemployment checks — creating another financial burden for the state.

 Here’s an idea for Governor Whitmer. Get rid of the hundreds of wasteful programs that already exist. Do what we, the citizens, would have to do in a financial crisis: Cut costs. There are more than enough wasteful programs in our state to fix the roads, you just need to have the courage to do it.

 Stop being a politician and start being a leader.

 And, most importantly, NO MORE DAMN TAXES!

Opinions offered in If I Were King are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Tri-County Times or its staff. Email the King at Some content adapted from the internet.

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