Michigan House Democrats push bill to give commuters tax break on gas costs

Fueling up continues to guzzle people's budgets as the surge in gas prices rolls on.

"Iâ??ve got five trucks on the road, and these gas prices are killing me, I'm telling you," said Paul Brown, who owns a roofing company in Birch Run.

Michigan House Democrats have now jumped behind a tax break to ease the burden commuters face at the pump.

"A tax credit would be helpful to me, yes,â?? said Cynthia Patton-Johnson, an educator for Detroit Public Schools who pays about $40 a week for gas.

"Not for me, â??cause I drive a thousand miles a week to work,â?? said Steven Davis, whoâ??s been commuting to Detroit from Burt for 25 years.

Representatives Charles Smiley (D-Burton) and Jim Ananich (D-Flint) are behind the measure that would provide a 50-percent or $100 tax credit - whichever is lower - for a taxpayer earning $50,000 a year or less. People making between $50,000 and $75,000 would get a 25 percent credit, and people making $75,000 to $100,000 would get a 10 percent credit.

Drivers say it wonâ??t make a dent in their gas budget, but itâ??s a start.

"Hey, anything, if I can get any kind of credit, that's fine with me,â?? said Brown.

"Hundred percent, I think that would be helpful,â?? said Jordan Giordano.

Rep. Smiley says itâ??s a long shot for the bill to pass the Republican-controlled House and Senate. But, he says, perhaps the effort will send a message Michigan drivers need some long-term relief.

"I don't know that we'll be able to get this through or not, but it's at least a start, and maybe they can start thinking about ways we can do things that may be more beneficial to all of us," Smiley said.

Smiley did not give a specific timeline for when the House could take up the bill.