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Lawmaker wants to raise state sales tax to help students pay for college

House Democrats
State Representative and Democratic Whip, Vicki Barnett represents Michigan’s 37th House District.

Many Michigan students would pay little to no money for in-state college tuition under a proposal in Lansing. State Representative Vicki Barnett (D-Farmington Hills) wants to raise the state’s sales tax by one percent to pay for the plan.

Barnett talked about the proposal on the Michigan Public Television program “Off the Record.”

“People are recognizing that we need to find a way to make sure that all of our kids who graduate high school who want to go on and get a higher educational degree have the opportunity to do so without having the weight and burden of student loans carrying them down,” Barnett said.

Besides helping students gain access to higher education, she says it would also help attract employers.

“If you want to locate your business anywhere in the country, why wouldn’t you want to come to Michigan where all of your workers would have access to a college education at little or no cost at some of the finest universities in the world?” Barnett added.

But leaders of both parties in the state House are skeptical about the plan.

House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel says he’s uneasy about raising the state’s sales tax to pay for the plan. He says that would pass too much of the cost on to middle- and low-income Michiganders.

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