Sen. Albert: Michigan Democrats spend too much taxpayer money on the wrong things

Sen. Albert: Michigan Democrats spend too much taxpayer money on the wrong things

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Thomas Albert this week voted against a state budget plan approved by Michigan Senate Democrats because it spends too much taxpayer money and is focused on the wrong initiatives.

The bills approved by the Senate advance to the House for further consideration. The budget for the next fiscal year likely will be finalized over the next few months.

“This budget proposal is built on skirting state law and will shortchange taxpayers, students and teachers across our state,” said Albert, R-Lowell. “Democrats are overspending and failing to adopt a fiscally responsible budget for state government. Worse, their new initiatives don’t do enough to help kids learn or make communities better places to live.”

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 want to raise taxes and raid the teacher retirement system to continue their spending spree.

Democrats want to return Michigan’s income tax rate to 4.25% for 2024, up from 4.05% in 2023 — a move that would cost taxpayers roughly $700 million a year. Albert and Senate Republicans maintain the lower rate should remain in effect.

Democrats want to spend much of the money on corporate welfare, rejecting Republican amendments to instead provide tax relief, combat inflation and invest more in infrastructure repairs. Democrats turned down Albert’s proposals to invest more in public safety, including amendments designed to help communities such as Battle Creek modernize fire stations and Barry County build more emergency communications towers.

“Because of the way this budget proposal is structured, Democrats are overspending overall and still not doing enough to fix our roads, keep our streets safe or invest in the basic services that people rely upon every day,” Albert said.

Democrats also propose raiding 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.

Democrats want to continue offering taxpayer-funded meals to students from wealthy families and paying off student loan debt for teachers, ignoring those who already have paid off the loans with their own money. Albert also is concerned that Democrats have weakened policies that were designed to make sure kids learn — such as the third grade reading law, tightly tying teacher evaluations to student achievement, and the letter grade system for evaluating public schools.

“Raiding the teacher’s retirement system not only threatens to financially hurt teachers after their days in the classroom are over, but it could leave the students in our classrooms today with higher tax bills in the future,” Albert said. “This budget plan doesn’t even put the money raided from the teacher’s retirement system to good use.

“Our kids, teachers and schools deserve support and investment,” Albert said. “But it must be done in the right way. We cannot separate the budget from the education policies behind it, and together they are not doing enough to help our kids learn and build the educational foundation they will need for the rest of their lives.”


Skip to content