State Rep. Rachelle Smit (R-Martin) voted against the state budget proposal brought forth by House Democrats Wednesday, which she said drains the state’s multibillion-dollar surplus, creates new, unnecessary programs, and neglects the most essential needs in Michigan communities.
In opposing the $81.7 billion budget, the representative criticized Democrats for unsustainably expanding the state’s budget, even as Michigan’s population has decreased since 2020.
“Democrats are bloating government one department and project at a time, amounting to billions of dollars and 1,000 new bureaucrats. This absurdly large budget is reckless and unsustainable,” Smit said. “As they funnel money into pet projects and big government, local roads and infrastructure across Michigan still won’t get fixed under this plan. I can’t support this abuse of taxpayer dollars.”
Despite spending through the state’s surplus, which started the year at $9 billion, the Democrats’ budget distributes no additional local road funding to Michigan communities, instead picking favored areas for specific projects. Republicans earlier this year proposed a $1 billion investment in local roads. Democrats also rejected Republican calls to help local police departments recruit and retain quality officers, after blocking Republican amendments earlier this year for a $100 million public safety grant program.
Smit criticized wasteful spending and harmful policies in the budget, including:
- Growing the size of government and adding more than 1,000 new bureaucrats — positions that will be difficult to eliminate in future years if funds aren’t available.
- $500 million for future spending into the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve, which pays money for corporate projects.
- Subsidies for wind, solar, and other frivolous, non-essential energy projects, with more than $100 million for various energy programs.
- Expanding the school meal program to now provide free meals to kids regardless of need – even kids from the wealthiest families.
- Increasing burdensome fees on Michigan small businesses and job providers.
- Undermining key transparency requirements, which weakens reporting requirements on state employee remote work.
Despite Smit’s opposition, the budget bills advanced to the governor.
“I represent several of Michigan’s agricultural communities. For my rural neighbors, wind and solar are not reliable or affordable energy sources in our area. The unnecessarily fast pace of this out-of-touch plan will drive up household electric bills even higher than they already are, and cause energy shortages and rolling blackouts like we’ve seen in California.”