Plan would reform spending process after secretive $82 billion budget
State Rep. Andrew Beeler last week co-sponsored a new plan to make Michigan’s budget process more transparent, fiscally responsible, and accountable to taxpayers.
The reform measures come after the Democrat majority passed a record $82 billion budget this summer, with the final proposal revealed only hours before the vote and about $4 billion for new items added at the last minute.
“The budget process is out of control. We are spending more and more money and are giving people less and less transparency. This is exactly why people do not trust government,” said Beeler, R-Port Huron. “This year, Michigan Democrats passed a wasteful, $82 billion budget only hours after releasing the final legislation. The people’s representatives have a duty to taxpayers to review budgets thoroughly and spend their dollars carefully. I’m pleased to sponsor these common-sense reforms to prevent surprise spending sprees and safeguard Michiganders’ resources.”
House Bills 5296-5297 would require the Legislature to post any spending bill publicly online and distribute it to legislators at least seven full days before the bill advances through a legislative chamber. Amendments to budget bills must be public at least three full days before they’re offered on the House or Senate floor.
The bills would also promote fiscal responsibility by reining in conference committees, the panels that write the final budget at the last minute, working out differences between the House and Senate. Conference committees often add new spending to budget bills that had not previously been proposed in either legislative chamber. HBs 5296-5297 would generally prevent conference committees from adding new items or increasing spending on an item above the House and Senate proposals. Spending bills reported from conference committee must be provided to legislators at least two days before a vote.
HBs 5296-5297 were referred to the House Committee on Government Operations.