Lansing treats taxpayer money like Publishers Clearing House

Lawmakers bring home large, taxpayer-funded checks to their communities. Literally and figuratively.

Michigan lawmakers are handing out large taxpayer-funded checks, literally and figuratively, handing over earmarks with public, Publishers Clearing House-style announcements. The checks are oversized in more ways than one.

State Sen. Jason Hoskins, D-Southfield, posted on X an image with Sen. Mary Cavanagh, D-Redford, announcing an award of $1.75 million in taxpayer money to the city of Farmington. 

Hoskins’ post states that $1 million will go to the Governor Warner Mansion and $750,000 will be used for the local fire department to buy a new fire truck.

The sight of elected officials presenting large checks as rewards at the expense of the taxpayer could not be a more symbolic illustration of the disconnect between lawmakers and the public they serve. Hoskins and Cavanagh were asked in an email how much it cost to create the large checks, and if they were paid for with taxpayer money. There was no response.

This is at least the second time Democrats have used this tactic when spending the people’s money. Sen. Mallory McMorrow, D-Royal Oak, and Rep. Helena Scott, D-Detroit, donned their Ed McMahon personas to present a large check of $500,000 for a Ferndale recreation center.

These gimmicks come at a time when people in Michigan are facing financial hardship. Inflation and other economic factors have made it difficult for many to afford groceries, gas, energy, and housing.

While lawmakers present oversized checks to their counterparts in local government, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is fighting to prevent a permanent income tax rollback that will permanently put more money in resident’s pockets.

This sends a clear message to residents: Lansing needs more of their money to do favors for its friends. 

Meanwhile, 13.4% of Michiganders are below the poverty line, according to the US Census.

Chances are, if you are struggling to make ends meet, you are not going to answer your door and be greeted by government officials with balloons, confetti, and a large check. You would have to be a government entity or hand-picked corporation to get that treatment.

Taxpayers want to know that our government evaluates and spends our money wisely. Corporate welfare and large checks do not gain the confidence of the people.

Instead of handing taxpayer money giveaways, can we just get the tax cut we were promised in 2007 when the state raised our taxes to balance the budget?

We won’t even ask for a large check.

Jamie A. Hope is assistant managing editor of Michigan Capitol Confidential. Email her at

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.