State Rep. David Martin is leading an effort to ensure money appropriated by the people’s representatives in the Legislature is spent for its intended purpose.
Martin, R-Davison, said his plan would prevent situations like the budget transfer scheme Gov. Gretchen Whitmer orchestrated in 2019 to funnel hundreds of millions of tax dollars into her pet projects. That same year, Whitmer’s budget vetoes also took away funding for veterans’ programs, children with autism, seniors with Alzheimer’s and people struggling to overcome opioid addiction.
“The governor’s hack-and-slash negotiating strategy was shameful and unacceptable,” Martin said. “Her decision to hold funding for veterans’ services hostage was especially appalling. It’s wrong to betray those who risked their lives to serve our country. We must ensure our state never goes down that path again.”
In 2019, Whitmer used the State Administrative Board to divert millions of taxpayer dollars into programs she favored without oversight or accountability. Her actions eliminated Legislature-approved support for some of Michigan’s most vulnerable people – defunding programs to fight human trafficking and help children in foster care, child sexual abuse victims and other at-risk youth. She instead shifted the funds into her own politically preferred programs.
In the years since, Republicans in the Legislature have included protections in each budget that limit the governor’s use of the State Administrative Board. This year, however, Democrats in control of the House eliminated the accountability measure before Republicans successfully fought to restore it.
Martin’s plan, House Bill 4877, would limit the amount of money the State Administrative Board could unilaterally redirect into or away from any single line item to $200,000.
“Our founders set up a system with three branches of government to prevent any leader from having too much power. They believed in giving a voice to the people through legislators,” Martin said. “Unfortunately, we have a governor who ignored that and misused the budget process to fund her own priorities. My plan will help make sure this kind of power grab never happens again, by any governor – Republican or Democrat. We need to hold our leaders accountable and protect the checks and balances that help ensure the will of the people is respected.”
House Bill 4877 was referred to the House Appropriations Committee for consideration.
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