……Chunks of the tobacco money are already committed to paying for merit scholarship awards for students and fueling Granholm’s 21st Century Jobs Fund, her major economic development plan. Those programs are not threatened by this agreement, leaders said.”
Proposed legislation will force state to publish all expenditures
August 16, 2007?
BY DANIEL ACCIAVATTI
Where does the rabbit go when placed in a hat? How much money does Michigan spend each year on road repair? What about on cable TV for prisoners?
With the exception of the first question, the following are questions at hand in a Michigan lacking answers. Now, more than ever, taxpayers have a right to know how their hard-earned money is spent as the state faces an uncertain future due to budget woes. In the five years I have participated on the House Appropriations committee, never have I seen such a blatant display of negligence to the financial burden on the state of Michigan.
Numbers cannot lie. Revenue-neutral budgets will not ease the ever-growing deficit. As a result, taxpayers will be forced to produce the funds necessary for Michigan’s survival via a tax hike.
In response, House Republicans are streamlining the effort with legislation called the Michigan Government Funding Accountability and Transparency Act. This law would create a public, searchable Web site listing every expense incurred by state government.
The FAT Act is modeled on bipartisan federal legislation passed by Congress and signed into law last year. Minnesota, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas and Hawaii have removed the magical curtain to allow taxpayers to know where their money is spent.
These five states have similar programs currently in place to show state expenditures at the click of a mouse.
House Democrats have voiced Michigan’s need to raise taxes to solve its budget deficit over and over again. How are taxpayers supposed to know if the claim is true? That question is especially important since they don’t even have a way to see how the government is spending their money.
Michigan cannot and will not be taxed out of poverty and into prosperity. Under the FAT Act, anyone surfing the net may view exactly how Michigan tax dollars are spent. This Web site takes away the curtain of government and allows taxpayers to decide if government is as lean as it claims or if there is room for improvement.
Taxpayers have a right to know how their money is spent. With today’s technology, there is no good reason to keep this information veiled by government.
Unfortunately, some Democratic leaders have already made their opposition to this plan known. The governor attacked this idea as a “distraction.” House Democrats’ spokesperson referred to the Republican proposal as “smoke and mirrors.”
It is difficult to understand opposition to this bill. Making government more transparent is a good thing. If there truly is no more fat to cut and government really is running as lean as possible, no one should have any objection to letting everyone see how the money is spent.
Posting state spending information will confirm to taxpayers that their hard-earned dollars are used in a way that is responsible. This would make government more efficient by exposing all excess. All lawmakers who are serious about solving Michigan’s budget crisis should support the Government FAT Act and assist in the implementation of this plan immediately.
Daniel Acciavatti, R-Chesterfield Township, represents the 32nd District of the Michigan House. Write him: Box 30014, Lansing, 48909-7514; call him: (517) 373-8931; or e-mail him: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nearly a deal on business tax
Democrat charges sabotage; Republican rejects that
BY CHRIS CHRISTOFF, FREE PRESS LANSING BUREAU CHIEF
Contact CHRIS CHRISTOFF at 517-372-8660 or email@example.com.
By Peter Luke, Lansing Bureau
House lawmakers also transferred $90 million from the Michigan Higher Education Loan Authority to the Merit Award Trust Fund. That move provides a one-time savings for the general state budget.
State schools are spared; no tax hike — for now
Mark Hornbeck and Charlie Cain / Detroit News Lansing Bureau
LANSING — State lawmakers and Gov. Jennifer Granholm Friday came to a budget deal for the current year, breaking a 3 1/2 -month impasse, that avoids shutting down government, cutting per-pupil state aid or enacting a major tax increase.