Sen. Albert: Michigan Democrats desperate to continue spending spree regardless of consequences

Sen. Albert: Michigan Democrats desperate to continue spending spree regardless of consequences

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Thomas Albert on Thursday voted against a bloated state budget plan of more than $80 billion that inflates government spending by raiding Michigan’s teacher retirement system and shortchanging taxpayers.

“This budget feeds the Big Government beast with no regard to its costs or negative consequences,” said Albert, R-Lowell. “This budget puts corporate welfare ahead of Michigan taxpayers and political interests ahead of our school system’s future. I simply could not support it.”

In the current state fiscal year, Democrats are blowing through a budget surplus once estimated at more than $9 billion. With that money gone, Democrats are looking for new ways to continue their spending spree in the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

Democrats plan to raid the teacher retirement system of about $670 million to spend on initiatives in the coming year. That skirts a 2018 law that Albert sponsored, requiring the state to stay on schedule with its debt payments.

“Michigan’s teacher retirement system remains about $30 billion in debt overall,” Albert said. “There is no excess money to spend elsewhere, there are no savings to divert — Democrats have fabricated this illusion out of nothing but a desire to recklessly spend taxpayer money right now. Just like delaying a debt payment with your mortgage or credit card, this will lead to higher debt payments in the future. Taxpayers — including our kids — will get stuck with the bill.”

The Democrats’ new spending does not do enough to improve outcomes for kids or address issues such as chronic absenteeism, Albert said.

The Democratic plan also continues wasteful spending on corporate welfare, including hundreds of millions of dollars for the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve Fund. Albert has proposed eliminating SOAR entirely.

“Democrats could have chosen to lower taxes, do more to fix our roads or improve public safety. Instead, they chose to continue giving away money to big corporations,” Albert said. “This is a woefully misguided approach to economic development, and taxpayers will never see an adequate return on their investment in these projects.”


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