Eleventh-hour additions came despite promise from budget chair
State Rep. Donni Steele, R-Orion Township, on Saturday reiterated her criticism of wasteful, unaccountable spending in the Democrat majority’s recent $82 billion budget, after a new report showed a vast majority of pork projects were added just before the final vote on the budget.
Analysis by the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan concluded that $881 million, or 65%, of earmarks in the general budget were added into the final legislation, House Bill 4437, just hours before the vote. Eleventh-hour pork projects for select favored communities include funding for pools, splash pads, a cricket field, opera houses, and more.
“Cramming unnecessary pork projects into the state budget at the last minute is an insult to Michigan taxpayers and a waste of their dollars. We can and must do better for the people of Michigan,” said Steele, who serves on the House Appropriations Committee. “We should be prioritizing long term solutions to fix our roads and bridges, strengthen public safety, achieve excellent schools, reduce debt, and cut taxes. An equitable budget focused on these priorities would help attract businesses and people to live, work and invest in Michigan.
“Instead, in a budget void of forethought, transparency, and accountability, the majority doled out one-time funding for pet projects in favored districts and created wasteful new programs. This new report from the Citizens Research Council is just another reminder of how shady and irresponsible the new budget is. Michigan residents deserve better.”
In all, between last-minute pork projects and programs added to both the general budget and the education budget, Democrats’ final budget spent nearly $4 billion on items not seen in any of the prior budget proposals.
The last-minute spending came despite a promise to the contrary from House Democrats’ lead on the budget — only the day before the vote. Rep. Angela Witwer, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, told reporters that the final budget wouldn’t contain new spending that had not been in the previous versions proposed by the governor, House, or Senate. “You’ve seen everything that’s going to end up in this budget,” Witwer said.
Steele has repeatedly called out the wasteful spending in the budget, which neglected crucial needs, such as local roads and public safety.
“The timeline laid out by the governor was clear political manipulation of the election process,” said Steele, R-Orion Township. “Voters in these communities deserved a fair and honest process. Instead, the governor found a new way to operate in the shadows. Potential candidates may have missed the filing opportunity while celebrating Thanksgiving with their families. This political gamesmanship continues to erode our democracy.”
“I’m proud I voted no on the Democrat’s lackluster transparency package. Michigan is tired of secret money influencing its politics. People deserve to know if their lawmaker takes a luxury trip paid for by a nonprofit. Under the plan, elected officials remain exempt from reporting travel and gifts paid for by nonprofit groups.”
State Rep. Donni Steele, R-Orion Township, will soon host a local office hour in Auburn Hills. The meeting will take place at the following time and location: Tuesday, December 5 No appointments are necessary to attend office hours. Those who are unable to attend but would still like to share their thoughts with the representative […]
“I drive to Lansing swerving potholes and hearing from local residents tired of blackouts and failing schools,” said Steele, R-Orion Township. “Those are all issues I’ve been trying to fix since I was elected, but the majority has blocked our plans at every turn. Adjourning nearly two months early instead of working through complex issues and oversight is a complete waste of state resources. We need to stay here and do the people’s work.”