State Rep. Pat Outman (R-Six Lakes) voted in opposition to the state budget proposal brought forth by House Democrats in majority on Wednesday.
The representative criticized the plan’s out-of-control measures that churn through taxpayer dollars while requiring little-to-no transparency and accountability.
“The people I represent sent me to Lansing to be a good steward of their tax dollars,” Outman said. “I can’t support a budget that so carelessly funnels their hard-earned money into bloated state departments and unnecessary pet projects. Families are struggling at the hands of inflation, and they could put that money to much better use than the government will.”
Some of the tone-deaf spending measures in the plan include: a new state archaeologist office, $10 million toward new electric vehicles for state employees and $5 million for a program that will incentivize purchasing e-bikes.
In addition to irresponsible spending, Outman said the budget is seriously lacking in transparency and accountability requirements.
By increasing contingency spending limits, the plan gives unelected bureaucrats a nearly blank check to spend money without input from legislators and the people they represent. The plan also strips away important safeguards that allow legislators to act if state department heads spend irresponsibly – allowing unelected bureaucrats to spend large amounts of the people’s money without any oversight or accountability.
The plan also removes an essential reporting requirement that forces state departments to publicly post severance payouts that exceed six weeks of wages. Such payouts earned scrutiny during the state’s COVID-19 response as various department heads within Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration were dismissed with sizable severance packages.
Outman offered an amendment to keep holding schools accountable by requiring school districts to comply with benchmark reporting requirements in order to receive state aid. This requirement currently exists in state law, but the budget plan approved Wednesday removes it. Benchmark reporting is a transparency measure that allows the state to assess learning loss and evaluate how schools are doing, an important part of ensuring Michigan schools perform optimally. Outman’s amendment was rejected, however.
Another rejected amendment Outman pushed for was the inclusion of funding for chronic wasting disease check stations or drop stations in core CWD areas before the 2023 season within the state’s Department of Natural Resources budget.
Despite Outman’s opposition, the budget plan advanced to the Senate for further consideration.
“Delivery and installation are services – not products. They shouldn’t be subject to sales and use tax. No longer will the Department of Treasury be able to use this part of the tax code to impede on the success of Michigan’s small businesses.”
State Rep. Pat Outman today expressed his gratitude to the Xavier DeGroat Autism Foundation for selecting him as its legislator of the year. The organization stated that Rep. Outman was selected because of his efforts to support autism awareness and his commitment to making Michigan a more inclusive environment for those with autism.
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