State Rep. Kathy Schmaltz recently co-sponsored a new plan to make Michigan’s budget process more transparent, fiscally responsible, and accountable to taxpayers.
The reform measures 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.
“When a 1,000-page spending bill appears hours before a vote, trust in government plummets,” Schmaltz said. “The people of Michigan deserve better. It’s time for responsible fiscal management and meaningful oversight.”
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, the panels that write the final budget at the last minute, working 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. HBs 5296-5297 would generally prevent conference committees from adding new items or increasing spending on an item above the House and Senate proposals. Spending bills reported from conference committee must be provided to legislators at least two days before a vote.
HBs 5296-5297 were referred to the House Committee on Government Operations.
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