State Rep. Tom Kuhn, R-Troy, today issued the following statement after the state House approved transparency legislation mandated by voters with the passage of Proposal 1 in November 2022. While Kuhn supported the legislation as a first step, he emphasized that more must be done to restore citizens’ confidence in state government.
“Since assuming office in January 2023, I’ve been shocked by the lack of transparency and openness in state government.
“From secret $82 billion state budgets and hundreds of millions spent on supplementals to hiding the financial connections between special interests and legislators, the running of the state has been deliberately designed to keep average citizens in the dark, while enriching the powerful and well-connected.
“I have authored legislation to bring real openness to Michigan’s appropriations process. I’m proud that 44 House reformers have co-sponsored my bills.
“As for the legislation requiring legislators to provide greater disclosure of their personal finances, the bill package offers the bare minimum of reforms mandated by Proposal 1. Dozens of amendments to put real teeth in these bills were voted down by a House majority vested in maintaining the status quo.
“It should escape no one’s notice that these bills were passed in the middle of the night. So even under the guise of providing a modicum of transparency, the process remained opaque.
“These bills cannot be the last word on transparency; they must be an opening statement, a beginning of a process toward greater transparency and a restoration of citizens’ confidence in state government and their elected leaders.”
“Today, the state continued to embrace a broken budgeting process that leaves the public confused and left behind. We participate in these meetings where leaders glaze over huge issues that sound nice on paper but make little sense when you dig into the details. Our budgeting process needs a complete overhaul so we can start focusing more on the details and less on fancy buzzwords.”
“The most important focus for our community colleges should be student success,” Kuhn said. “Unfortunately, too many students graduate from our high schools with insufficient skills to successfully complete two years of community college. We want to assure that all students who have access to community college, also have access to be successful at the community college level. I don’t see any commitment in the Governor’s State of the State that addresses the need for student success.”
“All of our state government needs to be subject to FOIA requests, plain and simple,” said Kuhn, R-Troy. “There are two states in our country that exempt their Legislature and governor from FOIA requests, and we’re one of them. This lack of transparency and accountability is completely unacceptable. Our plan allows for added public oversight of all government and increases penalties for non-compliant public bodies.”
“Families entrust these state-run facilities with the care of their vulnerable loved ones, and they deserve complete transparency if there has been any negligence on the part of the state,” said Kuhn, R-Troy. “The OAG audit will unseal any bad practices and allow the Legislature to have a wholistic view of how these facilities operate. Elected officials have a duty to step in and take corrective action if the facility is giving families in our community substandard care. This audit is the first step in that process.”