Michigan House Republicans
Rep. VanWoerkom advocates for transparency in spending of taxpayer dollars
RELEASE|May 10, 2024

State Rep. Greg VanWoerkom voted against the state budget brought forth by House Democrats in majority this week, noting the plan doesn’t support real families, prioritize local infrastructure, or respect taxpayers.  

Instead, the representative is concerned the plan reflects the concerns of leftist national interests, from the expansion of social programs to spending millions on green energy vehicles for the state.  

Republicans introduced more than 200 amendments to the spending plan. VanWoerkom, specifically, introduced an amendment to every part of the state budget that demanded greater transparency and accountability from the budget.  

“Recent events have shown us that transparency and accountability need to be at the forefront of our discussions surrounding this budget,” VanWoerkom said during his floor speech Wednesday night. “There’s been gross misuse of taxpayer dollars, but we owe it to our taxpayers to ensure that these tax dollars are spent prudently.” 

The representative’s speech references the misconduct that was recently uncovered after a state grant recipient spent $4,500 on a coffee maker for a state business accelerator organization, among many other unprecedented expenditures including lavish salaries, horrendous legal fees and grandiose travel expenses.  

VanWoerkom also expressed his disappointment with Democrats’ decision to divert up to $670 million in funds that are intended to pay off teacher retirement debt to instead pay for special projects – and during Teacher Appreciation Week no less.   

The portion of the state’s teacher retirement system that is dedicated to other post-employment benefits for retirees, like health care, recently became fully funded, but the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS) is still about $24.4 billion in debt.  

Gov. Whitmer announced the plans to reduce the scheduled payments and divert money to other projects in her budget proposal earlier this year. 

VanWoerkom and other Republicans believe her plan is risky and could leave teachers’ retirement underfunded. Still, Democrats in the House and Senate have followed the same path as the governor – pushing budgets that shift hundreds of millions of dollars away from the retirement system. 

Despite Republican objection, the budget plan was advanced to the state Senate for further consideration. 

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