Here is another $70 million which could be used to fund our road repair.
Powered by their super-majority, Senate Republicans pushed through a bill which authorized a new office building for them. That they would vote themselves “new digs” while claiming they can’t find funding for road repair shows how out of touch they are with Michigan voters.
Taxpayers should not be surprised that this self-serving vote took place during the lame duck session of 2014. An analysis of SB1149 shows both Democrats and Republicans voted in favor of a new office building; however, it is clear this bill would not have passed without Republican support. (For citizens in Livingston County you’ll be happy to know that our State Senator Joe Hune voted against the “new digs”).
How bad is SB1149? Here are some quotes from talk radio host Frank Beckmann’s op-ed which appeared in the Detroit News.
Here is the stated reason why our Senators need a new office building:
"The main reason given for seeking the new digs, according to testimony by Senate Secretary Carol Vivendi last year, is so every senator’s office would enjoy a clear view of the state capitol."
You can’t make this stuff up!
Wait there is more. A friend of the Republican Party stands to profit handsomely from this move. So who stands to profit from the “new digs”? Ron Boji, a big donor to state Republican politicians who was also appointed by Governor Snyder to serve on the state’s Transportation Commission.
Quoting again from Frank Beckmann:
"Over the past 7 years, Boji alone has contributed almost $80,000 to the Republican state senate campaign committee, the Michigan Republican Party, and the election efforts of Snyder."
Funneling taxpayer dollars to a wealthy campaign contributor is a classic example of corporate welfare and crony capitalism. This happens all too often in Lansing. Our Senators are attempting to reward a campaign contributor while bilking taxpayers out of $70 million in order to move to an office building that is 50 yards closer to the Capitol Building.
As the party that is out of power is supposed to do, the Democrats are holding the Republicans to account. The Democrat State Central Committee is hammering on Governor Snyder and Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof for their reckless spending. Quoting from their February 24 email:
"Tell Gov. Snyder and Sen. Majority Leader Arlan Meekof: don’t recklessly spend $70 million of our hard-earned tax dollars on fancy new digs for Senate Republicans!"
While there is a bit of hypocrisy in this email (4 Democrats voted for the “new digs”) their main point is one that all can agree with. Stop corporate welfare and crony capitalism.
Republicans control all branches of government in Lansing. It is time for them to follow their party platform, streamline government, and rebalance spending to fund our roads without raising taxes.