On July 31, the governor signed into law House Bill 4437, the general state budget for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. The bill – together with the education budget, which I detailed last week – spends $81.7 billion of taxpayer money with an emphasis on pork and new, unsustainable programs.
The new budget drains the rest of Michigan’s $9 billion surplus, adds 1,000 new bureaucrats, and bankrolls billions of dollars in pork projects and waste, all while failing to invest Michigan’s resources to fix crumbling local roads and fill officer vacancies at struggling local police departments. It also reduces funding for Michigan veterans.
Here are a few of my biggest concerns:
Hiking taxes and fees: Legislative Democrats baked a future tax hike into their bloated spending plan. Earlier this year, I helped secure an income tax cut for every Michigander and small business this spring, but the Democrats will need the new 4.05% income tax rate to go up again to 4.25% next year to balance their budget. The budget also raises fees on Michigan small businesses to pay for new bureaucrats to investigate those small businesses.
Ignoring police shortages: The budget fails to invest in understaffed local police departments experiencing a widespread officer shortage. Democrats rejected Republican amendments to provide $100 million in grants to help local police departments and county sheriff’s offices recruit and retain officers and obtain equipment. Instead, they spent more than $100 million on “community enhancement grants” to help their friends fund pork projects like pools, splash pads, theaters, and a cricket field. The budget also creates a $1.5 million program to hire unarmed social workers instead of the officers who are needed to protect communities.
Neglecting broken infrastructure: The budget distributes no new funding for local road agencies to repair failing infrastructure. Rejecting calls from House Republicans for a $1 billion investment in local roads, the Democrat majority only hand-picked a select few favored projects. House Republicans also called repeatedly for investing the $1.5 billion needed to fix all of Michigan’s bridges that are closed or in serious or critical condition, but the budget provided a mere $80 million for a bridge repair program — only 5% of the total needed.
Bankrolling pork projects: Democrats hand out more than $2 billion to their political friends and allies. Examples of unnecessary pork projects include $3 million for minor league baseball stadiums; $9.8 million for seven pools and splash pads; almost $1 million for a cricket field; and $1 million to teach children in Detroit to ride horses.
With all the projects that made it into the budget, it’s interesting to note that one of the few items vetoed by Gov. Whitmer was a $2 million grant to help Livingston County Catholic Charities continue to serve our community. This is a great organization that serves people of all faiths, offering services like substance abuse counseling and prevention, mental health counseling, foster care and adoption support, a community liaison program for seniors, and more.
Thank you to the Fowlerville Family Fair board and the many other volunteers and sponsors who help make the fair a success. I had a great time and really enjoyed seeing all the young people participating in 4-H. I’m already looking forward to next year’s festivities!
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office by calling (517) 373-3906 or emailing RobertBezotte@house.mi.gov. I am always happy to hear from people in our community.
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