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    Michigan C-stores Fend Off Gas Tax Proposals

    State convenience store association will hold convention in September.

    By Hank Behar

    DETROIT -- Michigan is one of only 11 states whose legislatures meet on a continuing basis, so sometimes a proposal can stick around without having to be revived every time the legislature reconvenes, giving it a chance of becoming law from sheer persistence. But not in the case of a plan to raise gasoline taxes.

    "For the past 18 months," observed Mark Griffin, president of the Michigan Petroleum Association/Michigan Association of Convenience Stores (MPAMACS), "some lawmakers have been proposing to raise our state's gasoline and diesel taxes, and for the past 18 months we've been successfully fending them off; they've never been able to bring it to a vote. And for good reason. They want to raise our gas tax 42 percent, and our diesel tax an unbelievable 80 percent. Can you imagine what that would do to our people in these times?" Griffin asked.

    Proponents of the tax hikes cite the need for infrastructure maintenance and improvement, plus the possible loss of Federal aid if more revenue isn't brought in. But Griffin isn't having any of it.

    "Michigan is suffering with one of the highest unemployment rates in the country," he noted. "It was 14.9 percent in March compared to just under 10 percent across the nation. It would be cruel to raise taxes on our citizens. We will continue to fight these proposals."

    The current taxes in Michigan are 19 cents a gallon on gasoline, and 15 cents on diesel fuel. The proposed increase would raise the gas tax to 23 cents this year and 27 cents in 2013. The diesel tax hike would be even greater proportionately, raising it initially from its present 15 cents to 21 cents, and to 27 cents in 2013.

    In the meantime, the battle in the state legislature isn't keeping MPAMACS members from plans to attend their annual fall convention, scheduled for Sept. 9 to 12, at the Grand Traverse Resort in Traverse City, Mich. Among the subjects covered will be the five mistakes petroleum marketers make when they buy insurance, and how to benchmark businesses against peer group members. Plus a Murder Mystery dinner for those homicidally inclined, or just looking for a fun get-away. More info and reservations at (517) 622-3530.

    By Hank Behar
    • About Hank Behar

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