Legislator: The spending of taxpayer dollars deserves thoughtful consideration
Rep. Outman has co-sponsored a measure that would make Michigan’s budget process more transparent, fiscally responsible, and accountable to taxpayers.
The proposed reforms come after the governor signed a record $82 billion budget this summer, with the final proposal revealed to legislators only hours before they were called upon to vote. The final product included about $4 billion for new items added at the last minute.
“It’s simply not possible to adequately and thoughtfully review 1,000 pages of legislation just hours before voting on it,” Outman said. “The people of Michigan elected us to thoughtfully consider legislation and voice concerns on their behalf. They deserve to know the spending of their tax dollars is being carefully considered.”
House Bills 5296-5297 would require the Legislature to post any spending bill publicly online and distribute it to legislators at least seven full days before the bill advances through a legislative chamber. Amendments to budget bills must be public at least three full days before they’re offered on the House or Senate floor.
The bills would also promote fiscal responsibility by reining in conference committees, which write the final budget at the last minute and work out differences between the House and Senate. Conference committees often add new spending to budget bills that had not previously been proposed in either legislative chamber, but the plan Outman supports would generally prevent them from adding new items or increasing spending on an item more than the House and Senate proposed. Spending bills reported from conference committee would have to be provided to legislators at least two days before a vote.
The transparency plan was referred to the House Committee on Government Operations, however, House Democrats in majority held its last votes on Nov. 9 and will not consider any more legislation until the new year. This is the earliest the Legislature has adjourned in more than half a century. Outman and his Republican colleagues did not support the early adjournment.
State Rep. Pat Outman (R-Six Lakes), who serves on the House Energy Committee, issued the following statement celebrating the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) approval of the Line 5 Tunnel permitting process: “Michiganders encountered significant energy setbacks over the past week, with rising electricity rates and the looming threat that Gov. Whitmer’s green energy mandates […]
“Michigan families are already paying too much for electricity that isn’t reliable,” Outman said. “Rural communities like ours have experienced energy outages in recent years that only stand to get worse under these bills. The people of Michigan don’t want this plan, that’s why Democrats are stepping in to force it on them regardless of what local communities have already decided.”
“Rate increases like this are just the beginning of what’s ahead for Michiganders under Democrats’ Green New Deal. Just one day after the governor signed the plan into law, we’re already seeing detrimental impacts.”