Michigan House Republicans
Rep. VanWoerkom: Democrats’ budget doesn’t prioritize things that really matter
RELEASE|June 27, 2024

State Rep. Greg VanWoerkom today voted against Democrat’s $82.5 billion spending plan that prioritizes pet projects over the critical needs of Michigan residents in the new state budget.

VanWoerkom said the plan relies on a tax increase that has families, seniors and small businesses handing over more of their hard-earned money to the state, while raiding teachers’ retirement accounts to the tune of $670 million. Meanwhile, the budget drastically reduces school safety funding and ignores local roads that are badly in need of repair.

“The Michigan taxpayers who fund this budget are counting on essential services like infrastructure and public safety to be included in this spending plan,” VanWoerkom said. “But unfortunately, this plan is instead riddled with pet projects that only benefit people in certain areas of the state. We need a more holistic, proactive approach to our spending plan. This one misses the mark.”

The new budget cuts school safety and mental health grant funding by more than $300 million, leaving just $26.5 million to help schools fund resource officers, mental health services, and other critical programs that protect kids. Following the passage of the budget, the teacher’s union even issued a public statement calling for the Legislature to rethink the school safety cuts and pass supplemental funding to back student mental health and safety efforts. 

The statement from MEA President and CEO Chandra Madafferi reads: 

“There were deep cuts to categorical funding for school safety and student mental health — cuts that will need to be navigated at the local level to keep our schools safe learning spaces for all students and employees.”

While school safety endured significant cuts, projects like a $7.5 million drone program, $3 million in incentives for people who purchase e-bikes, and a $25 million program to build state-owned EV charging stations received funding. A commission to coordinate a celebration marking the U.S. semiquincentennialtwo years from now also received $5 million.

The budget also funds hundreds of millions of dollars in pork projects that were added at the last minute, including $17 million for zoos in Lansing and Metro Detroit, $2.5 million for professional baseball stadiums, $5 million for a Detroit theater, $18 million for various public and private sports facilities, $1.9 million for a pool in Saginaw, and $300,000 to cover public Wi-Fi in downtown Detroit.

The new state budget for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1 was pushed through the House early this morning in two party-line votes.


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