Rebecca Kleefisch attacks on Tim Michels and the gas tax has no basis in any fact and Kleefisch has not provided any statement of Tim Michels advocating for it or any other evidence that Michels supports raising the gas tax. If Michels had ever personally advocated for a gas tax increase, there would be proof in the form of a public statement or letter to lawmakers. That proof doesn’t exist.
The Wisconsin Conservative Digest understands this issue well given our support for meeting the infrastructure needs of our citizens and businesses in Wisconsin. During the Walker years, we did not advocate for a gas tax hike. We believed then, and to this day believe, more general spending outside of the transportation budget should have been used for road/highway construction. The Walker Administration had full control of the Legislature for eight years and could have done moved the sales tax on auto sales and auto parts into the transportation fund. They didn’t. Now Kleefisch says she supports that idea.
Don’t forget, Walker and Kleefisch lost to Tony Evers, in part, because they weren’t willing to “fix the damn roads.” Evers is already running ads this cycle bragging about fixing roads and bridges. Walker and Kleefisch never understood the connection between good roads and bridges and a strong economy the same way Tommy did in the 90s. Becky likes to brag she has won 4 out of 5 statewide elections. That’s true. But the one she lost was to Tony Evers just four years ago.
At the heart of Rebecca Kleefisch assertion is that Tim Michels and Michels Corp was part of an association that advocated for raising the gas tax. Understand that Michels Corp is a large construction company, largest in Wisconsin, and is part of 40 trade associations. Tim Michels has stated that he does not believe in every position for every board his business is associated with. In fact, Michels often states on the campaign trial that he sometimes disagrees with positions taken by boards he and Michels Corp are members.
Michels, while serving on the Transportation Development Association, advocated against raising the gas tax and asked the board to not take that position. He took this position because he is a conservative, fiscal conservative, believed it was bad policy, and it hurt his business interest. A majority of the board disagreed and took a public stance to raise the gas tax. Michels until this day doesn’t support raising the gas tax.
Now let’s get to the heart of how silly Kleefisch allegations are.
Michels Corps runs a fleet of over 14,000 pick-ups, and heavy construction equipment. The entire Michels fleet of vehicles and construction equipment requires fossil fuels to run. This is a significant fleet of moving equipment for any business, and there aren’t many businesses with that many cars, trucks, and moving equipment out there. About 4% of Michels Corps business is in road construction. 96% of his business deals are with energy installation and transmission lines. Why would Tim Michels raise the gas tax and kill 96% of his business, raise its and reduce its profits? Nothing Kleefisch is saying about Michels on the gas tax makes sense for any businessperson. As Tim Michels said in the Dan O’Donnell debate, “I would have to be the dumbest businessperson in the world to advocate for a gas tax.”
By Bob Dohnal, Publisher of the Wisconsin Conservative Digest
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