Michigan House Republicans
Rep. Fink votes against budget plan that favors pet projects over essential services
RELEASE|June 27, 2024
Contact: Andrew Fink

State Rep. Andrew Fink (R-Adams Township) today voted against a $82.5 billion spending plan that prioritizes pet projects over the critical needs of Michigan residents in the new state budget.

Fink said the plan relies on a tax increase that has families, seniors and small businesses handing over more of their hard-earned money to the state, while raiding teachers’ retirement accounts to the tune of $670 million. Meanwhile, the budget drastically reduces school safety funding and ignores local roads that are badly in need of repair.

“Time and again we see that Democrats are out of touch with the real needs of the people of Michigan,” Fink said. “Their plan funds trivial pet projects that benefit specific areas of the state rather than focusing on basic statewide necessities like infrastructure, public safety, and essential government services.”

The new budget cuts school safety and mental health grant funding by more than $300 million, leaving just $26.5 million to help schools fund resource officers, mental health services, and other critical programs that protect kids.

The budget also includes insufficient funding within the Department of Corrections budget for corrections officer recruitment and retention. Fink said he was disappointed to see the plan included neither signing and retention incentives, nor retirement improvements for corrections officers.

“Recruiting and retaining corrections officers is vital to ensure the safety, security, and effective management of correctional facilities,” Fink said. “There has been a notable shortage of corrections officers in Michigan for years. This budget should have included funding for comprehensive solutions to attract and retain qualified personnel in these critical roles.”

Pet projects like a $7.5 million drone program, $3 million in incentives for people who purchase e-bikes, and a $25 million program to build state-owned EV charging stations received funding. A commission to coordinate a celebration marking the U.S. semiquincentennial two years from now also received $5 million.

The budget also funds hundreds of millions of dollars in pork projects that were added at the last minute, including $17 million for zoos in Lansing and Metro Detroit, $2.5 million for professional baseball stadiums, $5 million for a Detroit theater, $18 million for various public and private sports facilities, $1.9 million for a pool in Saginaw, and $300,000 to cover public Wi-Fi in downtown Detroit.

Past recipients of these “enhancement” grants have misused state funding, including one prominent MEDC appointee who created a new business and then used a $20 million grant to pay for pricey first-class plane tickets and even a $4,500 coffee maker.

A $500 million earmark is included in the budget for the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve (SOAR) fund, which funds handouts for big corporations that promise to invest in economic development projects, even though needed reforms to improve transparency and accountability have not been made.

“The budget contains hundreds of millions in corporate handouts and special interest projects but includes very few oversight measures to ensure those dollars are being used efficiently or effectively,” Fink said. “We need better transparency to ensure taxpayers are actually getting something out of the investment of public funds.”

The new state budget for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1 was pushed through the House early this morning in two party-line votes.


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