Senate bill would prevent billion-dollar road borrowing from Michigan governor, unelected board
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer unilaterally moved to borrow $3.5 billion for her road plan in January.
In her State of the State address Jan. 29, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced she would borrow $3.5 billion to fund spending on roads and bridges. The new debt – which taxpayers will be paying down for the next 25 years – was approved by an unelected state commission less than 24 hours after Whitmer’s speech.
One bill in the Michigan Legislature would end that behavior for good.
Whitmer circumvented both voters and lawmakers when she pressed the State Transportation Commission to issue $3.5 billion in bonds that will go toward fixing freeways and trunkline roads – less than 10% of the roads in Michigan.
But a proposal filed by state Sen. Roger Victory, R-Hudsonville, – Senate Bill 716 – would automatically give lawmakers the chance to veto any bonding proposal of $100 million or more from the commission.
Commonsense limits on massive bond deals would go a long way toward making sure Michigan’s debt burden doesn’t grow further out of hand. Each taxpayer in Michigan already shoulders $17,000 in state debt that they’ll ultimately need to pay off through higher taxes, according to fiscal watchdog Truth in Accounting. That’s the second-highest burden in the Midwest, behind only Illinois.
Commonsense reforms such as that proposed by Victory would make it more difficult for such unilateral action to be taken, easing the present and future debt burden for Michiganders.
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