State Rep. Jerry Neyer this week opposed advancing budget plans that bloat state government in record fashion while offering little to meet critical needs.
Neyer criticized the proposals, which commit nearly $82 billion for the upcoming fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, for a lack of support for rural communities compared to other parts of the state, as well as a lack funding for local roads, bridges, water lines and other critical infrastructure. Overall, less than one-sixth of the state Department of Transportation budget will actually go toward fixing roads.
Neyer outlined examples of wasteful spending within the plans, including $50 million for an unlisted, undeclared project in the greater Detroit area and $500 million that can be authorized for corporate giveaways through the state’s Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve with little to no legislative oversight.
“There are a lot of pet projects in this budget and not a lot of practical solutions for hard-working taxpayers,” said Neyer, of Shepherd. “I speak with people every day across our region who want their local roads fixed and their communities to be safe for themselves and their families. This budget doesn’t do enough to address those issues despite spending lavishly.”
In addition, the budget would create more than 1,000 new bureaucratic jobs – positions that will be difficult to eliminate in future years if funds aren’t available. Some of these positions will actively burden taxpayers – impacting small businesses via new inspectors and increased fees.
Annual adjusted gross appropriations have increased by over $30 billion from where they were a decade prior. Neyer said the spending is unsustainable.
“Expanding state government’s workforce by over 1,000 jobs while our state’s population is shrinking is a tone-deaf move,” Neyer said. “Growing state government’s budget while people across our state are having to get tighter with their own budgets is a tone-deaf move. While the school budget has a lot of good things in it, this plan missed the mark in a lot of areas overall. It’s going to lead to some hard decisions in next year’s budget and down the line.”
House Bill 4437 and Senate Bill 173 will soon head to the governor for consideration.
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