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A WGVU initiative in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation using on-air programs and community events to explore issues of inclusion and equity.

Report says passing drivers licenses for all would generate $100 million for MI

Photo of two people in a car driving

Passing the Drive SAFE bills granting driver’s licenses for all residents regardless of immigration status could lead to $12 million dollars in annual recurring revenue for the state according to a report from the Michigan League for Public Policy. 

Simon Marshall-Shah, a State Policy Fellow for the MLPP, wrote the report and he obtained most of his data from the U.S Census Bureau, Center on Migration Studies and the Pew Research Center.  

“And so over the course of ten years that would be $100 million dollars in an increase in state revenue and that’s generated from vehicle registrations and fees and sales in gas taxes related to car ownership as well as the initial driver’s licenses purchases.”  

Michigan’s $100 billion agricultural industry relies on labor of migrant farm workers. In fact, 20% of all Michigan workers in farming, fishing and forestry are immigrants.  An estimated 5% of undocumented laborers in Michigan are working in these occupations.

Since the introduction of these bills, Rob Steffens, a fourth-generation apple grower in Sparta, has been advocating for driver’s licenses for all. He says this would give businesses like his access to a more reliable work force. 

“So the advantages to the public its saving our taxpayers money, and increasing in registration fees and licensing fees. I mean I don’t see the downside to it…one bit.”

If the bills pass, Michigan will join 15 other states that provide access to a driver’s license or ID for immigrants regardless of immigration status. 

Michelle Jokisch Polo, WGVU News.