Michigan House Republicans
Unsustainable Democrat budget funds pork, raises taxes instead of investing in infrastructure, public safety
RELEASE|July 31, 2023
Contact: Matt Hall

House Republican Leader Matt Hall on Monday reiterated his opposition to Democrats’ wasteful, unsustainable budget funded by a tax hike — a budget that fails to invest in the priorities of Michigan families.

The Democrats’ $82 billion budget, signed into law Monday, will require an income tax hike to pay for everything. Hall, R-Richland Township, criticized Democrats for unsustainably spending more money than ever before, draining the rest of Michigan’s $9 billion surplus, adding 1,000 new bureaucrats, and bankrolling billions of dollars in pork projects and waste, all while failing to invest Michigan’s resources to fix crumbling local roads and fill officer vacancies at struggling local police departments.

“Michiganders want their hard-earned tax dollars invested to fix local roads, keep our neighborhoods and schools safe, and provide other essential public services, but Democrats are hiking taxes to go on a ridiculous spending spree while setting aside the people’s most urgent needs,” Hall said. “Democrats chose the partisan path to pick winners and losers — rewarding their political allies with pork projects and unsustainable programs. Meanwhile, our local roads and bridges will continue to crumble, our understaffed local police departments will struggle to protect our communities, and our students will keep falling behind. Michigan taxpayers will owe more to state coffers to pay for all the Democrats’ pork and pipe-dream programs.”

Hiking taxes and fees: Legislative Democrats baked a future tax hike into their bloated spending plan. Hall secured an income tax cut for every Michigander and small business this spring, but the Democrats will need the new 4.05% income tax rate to go up again to 4.25% next year in order to balance their budget. The Democrat attorney general in March disregarded the clear language, history, and legislative intent of the law and declared that the tax cut should only last for one year, an assumption Democrats used to write their massive budget. The budget also raises fees on Michigan small businesses to pay for new bureaucrats to investigate those small businesses.

Neglecting broken infrastructure: The budget distributes no new funding for local road agencies to repair failing infrastructure. Rejecting Hall’s proposal for a $1 billion investment in local roads, Democrats only hand-picked a select few favored projects. Hall has also called repeatedly for investing the $1.5 billion needed to fix all of Michigan’s bridges that are closed or in serious or critical condition, but the budget provided a mere $80 million for a bridge repair program — only 5% of the total needed. At the same time, Democrats handed out more than $2 billion to their political friends and allies for solar farms, zoos, opera houses, and other pork projects.

Ignoring police shortages: The budget also fails to invest in understaffed local police departments experiencing a widespread officer shortage. Democrats rejected Republican amendments to provide $100 million in grants to help local police departments and county sheriff’s offices recruit and retain officers and obtain equipment. Instead, they spent more than $100 million on “community enhancement grants” to help their friends fund pork projects like pools, splash pads, theaters, and a cricket field. The budget also creates a $1.5 million program to hire unarmed social workers instead of the officers who are needed to protect communities.

Bankrolling pork projects: Democrats spend more than $2 billion on earmarks. Examples of unnecessary pork projects include $5 million to the AFL-CIO, one of the Democrats’ powerful union allies; $3 million for minor league baseball stadiums; $9.8 million for seven pools and splash pads; almost $1 million for a cricket field; and $1 million to teach rich children in Detroit to ride horses.

Failing Michigan students: The $24.3 billion portion of the budget related to schools, universities, and community colleges, which became law earlier this month, puts pork projects over the needs of Michigan students. Democrats added $2 billion for pork and wasteful programs into the school budget alone — funds that could have provided nearly $1,400 more per student to support classroom learning across the state. They also eliminated dedicated funding for school resource officers who keep kids safe at school.

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