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Spending spree or essential? 2024 Michigan budget has nearly $1 billion in pork spending

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(The Center Square) – Michigan’s record $82 billion budget for 2024 will add 899 government employees and will increase spending by about $8 billion – Republicans equate these measures to an unsustainable spending spree.

Michigan’s 2022 budget was stuffed with $146M in pork barrel spending. This year, that number climbed closer to $1 billion, with taxpayers shelling out millions of dollars for splash pads, union grants, and solar panels.

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy said the budget spends $500 million the state won’t have in the future.

Attorney General Dana Nessel says the 2015 personal income tax rate cut from 4.25% to 4.05% only lasts one year instead of permanently, but the MCPP’s director of fiscal policy James M. Hohman said the budget is based on wrong assumptions.

“The budget is based on the false assumption that taxes are going to increase,” Hohman said in a statement. “The state cut taxes this year, but lawmakers are spending tax revenue on an erroneous legal interpretation of a statute that clearly and permanently lowers taxes. Lawmakers should do a better job of practicing restraint and avoid spending money that they’re not entitled to.”

The budget will deplete all but $300 million of the state’s remaining $7 billion surplus, House Speaker Joe Tate’s spokeswoman Amber McCann told The Center Square in an email.

The budget includes $30 million to fund a program to incentivize communities to host wind, solar, and storage facilities. It includes $5 million to fund the creation of a critical mineral recycling research hub that will research the reuse of critical materials for clean energy production.

Pork spending, in which lawmakers dole out millions of dollars to specific projects statewide, includes:

$50 million for a project in the city of Pontiac Downtown.$40 million for a Macomb County Jail.$40 million for a transformational municipal infrastructure.$35 million for Grand Rapids Fire Stations.$30 million for a Saginaw Economic Development Medical Center.$30 million for freeway cameras.$20 million for a Henry Ford Health Center.$20 million for high-speed rail grants.$20 million for a city of Wyoming infrastructure project.$20 million for a Greektown Corridor Development.$18 million for a Muskegon Shaw-Walker Housing Development.$14 million for the John Ball Zoo.$12 million for a Midtown Cultural Center Planning initiative.$10 million for a Dearborn Heights Fire Station.$10 million for relief for a convention and visitors bureau relief.$10 million for Adrian Workforce Development Center.$10 million for Henry Ford College Student Success Center.

Some spending seems unnecessary, such as $8 million for the North American International Auto Show, $3 million for the redevelopment of a shopping center in Sterling Heights, $5 million for the Lansing Center, $1 million for Ann Arbor splash pads, $900k for a Troy cricket field, and $200k for a Novi Parks splash pad.

The budget includes depositing $287 million into the Make it in Michigan Fund to match federal dollars for community revitalization and economic development.

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