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Michigan House Republicans
COLUMN: It’s time to work together to craft a responsible state budget
RELEASE|June 20, 2023
Contact: Ann Bollin

Op-ed by State Rep. Ann Bollin, R-Brighton Township, published in the Detroit News on June 19, 2023

“I didn’t write it and I didn’t do the research.”

That’s what a House budget subcommittee chairwoman recently told a reporter when she was pressed for more details about a line item in her budget for the Department of Natural Resources.

Her admission is alarming. Is this the new norm?

As legislators, the people of Michigan put their trust in us to invest their tax dollars wisely. We have a duty to make sure the state focuses on providing the core functions of government as effectively and efficiently as possible.

The chairwoman’s explanation for spending tax dollars on things like “noise efficiency” is indicative of the haphazard approach the new Democrat majority in the Legislature has taken to budgeting. The initial spending plan presented in the House includes hundreds of millions of dollars in wasteful spending driven by special interests. It grows government – adding bureaucracy and exponentially increasing the number of state employees – while leaving little on the balance sheet to meet our known constitutional obligations.

So far, my Republican colleagues and I have offered more than 200 amendments to try to make the Democrat spending plan more reflective of the needs of the people we represent. Every single one of them has been soundly rejected.

These are the reasons why none of the budget bills presented in the House so far have earned a single Republican vote.

Fortunately, the budget process is not over. There’s still time for the Democrat majority to step back, do the research, and work together with Republicans to write a budget that meets the essential needs of families in every Michigan community.

Over the last decade, responsible budgeting and strong fiscal policies directed by Republican legislative leaders with broad bipartisan support helped pull our state out of recession and put us on sound financial footing. These policies led to the historic $9 billion dollar surplus we had in January and helped us pay down billions of dollars in debt over the past several years. Let’s just say, Republican legislators will provide good input if Democrats are willing to listen.

The priorities I have for the budget align very closely with those who live in the communities I am elected to represent. We want our tax dollars to support the essential services that protect the health, safety and welfare of Michigan families – not the priorities of special interests or political allies. We also expect state government to be transparent about the way our tax dollars are spent.

I weigh every budget decision as if it were my family budget. I ask: Is it required? Is it a priority? Is it a preference? Is it the job of state government?

With the right approach, we can make everyday life more affordable, support a strong education system that offers parents and teachers more flexibility, invests in infrastructure, keeps our communities safe, and plans for a sustainable future.

It’s time to come together and work on a fiscally sound and sensible budget that reduces debt, limits long-term liabilities, sets money aside for rainy days ahead, and meets the state’s constitutional obligations. 

I’m ready to roll my sleeves up and craft a budget that meets these needs. I urge my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to join me.

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