Michigan House Republicans
Rep. Steele: Report highlights shady, last-minute pork spending in new budget
RELEASE|August 19, 2023
Contact: Donni Steele

Eleventh-hour additions came despite promise from budget chair

State Rep. Donni Steele, R-Orion Township, on Saturday reiterated her criticism of wasteful, unaccountable spending in the Democrat majority’s recent $82 billion budget, after a new report showed a vast majority of pork projects were added just before the final vote on the budget.

Analysis by the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan concluded that $881 million, or 65%, of earmarks in the general budget were added into the final legislation, House Bill 4437, just hours before the vote. Eleventh-hour pork projects for select favored communities include funding for pools, splash pads, a cricket field, opera houses, and more.

“Cramming unnecessary pork projects into the state budget at the last minute is an insult to Michigan taxpayers and a waste of their dollars. We can and must do better for the people of Michigan,” said Steele, who serves on the House Appropriations Committee. “We should be prioritizing long term solutions to fix our roads and bridges, strengthen public safety, achieve excellent schools, reduce debt, and cut taxes. An equitable budget focused on these priorities would help attract businesses and people to live, work and invest in Michigan.

“Instead, in a budget void of forethought, transparency, and accountability, the majority doled out one-time funding for pet projects in favored districts and created wasteful new programs. This new report from the Citizens Research Council is just another reminder of how shady and irresponsible the new budget is. Michigan residents deserve better.”

In all, between last-minute pork projects and programs added to both the general budget and the education budget, Democrats’ final budget spent nearly $4 billion on items not seen in any of the prior budget proposals.

The last-minute spending came despite a promise to the contrary from House Democrats’ lead on the budget — only the day before the vote. Rep. Angela Witwer, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, told reporters that the final budget wouldn’t contain new spending that had not been in the previous versions proposed by the governor, House, or Senate. “You’ve seen everything that’s going to end up in this budget,” Witwer said.

Steele has repeatedly called out the wasteful spending in the budget, which neglected crucial needs, such as local roads and public safety.

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