News Story

Republican Senator Squawks at Stimulus Spending

According to, House Bill 5872 would spend federal stimulus money in the following way:

"[Authorizes] spending the $312 million granted to Michigan's school budget by the "Edujobs" portion of the federal "Stimulus 2" bill passed by Congress in August, 2010. See also House Bill 6086, passed by the House on the same day, which shifts $208.4 million from the state school aid fund to the general fund, and appropriates this money to the 2010-Fiscal Year 2011 community colleges budget."

In addition to being part of the national debate over the federal stimulus program, this bill fuels an ongoing local controversy over making modest reductions to Michigan's K-12 spending. This came to a head last year when the Michigan House was unable to muster the votes on a bill that proposed to reduce that budget - the largest in state government - by just a little less than three percent.

Yesterday, both the Michigan House and Senate approved HB 5872. It passed the Senate on a vote of 29-9, with three Republicans voting "no." It passed the House on a vote of 104-1, with the only "no" vote being Rep. Coleman Young, Jr., D-Detroit.

Patterson made a short statement to the Senate, stating his reasons for voting against the bill. He also included some of his stimulus spending comments on another bill that passed that day: House Bill 4860.

These statements were as follows:


House Bill 4860

Senator Patterson's statement is as follows:

So where does this money come from that we are spending again today? Well, I am looking at a Legislative Digest from the United States House Republican Conference, certainly a reliable source, and this money comes from Harry Reid and Patty Murray. It is $26.1 billion in federal bailouts for states that is partially offset with permanent tax increases and rescissions. The bill provides $10 billion for state education bailout. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the bill increases the deficit by $12.6 billion.

Whether or not you are convinced by the United States House Republican Conference, perhaps you will be convinced by a Gongwer selection that appears to state: "The state GOP hits House candidates on federal stimulus spending." Can you imagine that the state Grand Old Party is attacking House Democrats in our own State House for excessive spending of bailout money? "According to the Republican Party spokesperson Jennifer Hoff, she wasn't aware of the calls that were being made, but the liberals in Lansing supported wasting $862 billion of our tax dollars." That was a flyer that was sent out. I actually received one of those at my home. The liberals are spending this bailout money like it was their own rather than stepping up and holding the line as true conservatives do.


House Bill 5872

Senator Patterson's statement, in which Senators Buzz Thomas and Tupac Hunter, both of Detroit, concurred, is as follows:

"Those who actually listened before were quite on point. So that is why I would like to reincorporate my "no" vote explanation on this bill. Having referenced the United States Republican Conference and the state GOP, I will now take the liberty of referencing a Wall Street Journal article that I understand Senator George circulated yesterday:

""Washington and the Fiscal Crisis of the States. The states have faced and will face combined budget shortfalls estimated at $350 billion in fiscal years 2010 and 2011. Past experience suggests that these deficits will continue even if a national economic recovery takes hold.

The federal stimulus has provided significant budget relief to the states, but this relief is temporary and makes it harder for states to cut expenditures. These strings prevent states from substituting federal money for state funds, require states to spend minimum amounts of their own funds, and prevent states from tightening eligibility standards for benefits.

Because of these requirements, states, instead of cutting spending in transportation, education, and health care, have been forced to keep most of their expenditures at previous levels and use federal funds only as supplements. The net result is this: The federal stimulus has led states to increase overall spending in these core areas, which in effect has only raised the height of the cliff from which state spending will fall if stimulus funds evaporate.""

This is a perfect example of kicking the can down the road. Stop spending future generation's money. Have the guts to cut spending now and not keep spending our grandchildren's money. That is easy.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.