House Democrats Vote Against Disappointing State Budget

Budget favors posh offices for senators over schools, roads and communities
Tuesday, April 28, 2015

LANSING – The Michigan House Democrats voted against a misguided General Fund omnibus budget Tuesday because it isn’t balanced and short-changes Michigan’s families, students and communities while spending lavishly on new offices for Legislators.

“The budget passed by House Republicans today reflects misguided priorities that are out-of-touch with the needs of everyday working families,” House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills) said. “When it comes to how to spend taxpayer dollars, the people of Michigan want great schools, reliable roads and safe communities. This budget takes resources away from programs that benefit families and communities and, instead, squanders them on offices for senators.”

Contrary to the Michigan Constitution that requires the state to pass a balanced budget, the plan approved by House Republicans today fails to do even that. It also fails to fully fund the Healthy Michigan plan, which provides health care to about 600,000 Michiganders, and cuts revenue sharing to local communities.

“It’s obvious this budget was not ready for prime time, but House Republicans rushed it through anyhow,” said House Appropriations Committee member Rep. Kristy Pagan (D-Canton) said. “Passing a budget that we know doesn’t live up to our constitutional obligations is reckless and indefensible. We owe it to the people of Michigan to take our budget process more seriously and deliberately, which is why the House Democrats voted against it. We remain committed to improving the budget to reflect the priorities of Michigan’s hardworking families.”

House Democrats offered several amendments that would have reprioritized the budget, but Republicans rejected them. An amendment from Rep. Brandon Dillon (D-Grand Rapids), who is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, would have prevented the state from spending taxpayer dollars to move state senators and their staff less than a block away to new offices, but it was also gaveled down.

“That money could have gone to buy textbooks, fix potholes or put more cops on our streets – all of which would have benefitted the people of Michigan,” Dillon said. “Instead, that money will only benefit 38 senators and their staffers, who are looking forward to getting fancy new offices on the taxpayer’s dime. This budget shamefully misrepresents the priorities of Michiganders, and we must work hard to deliver them a better budget plan.”