News Story

Michigan budget includes $40 million for the arts

Edsel Ford House, Grand Rapids, a community center in Midland were among the beneficiaries

Among the beneficiaries of Michigan’s record $76 billion budget: an historic house in Grosse Pointe Shores and an amphitheater in Grand Rapids. All told, lawmakers gave $39.85 million in taxpayer money to various arts-related projects across the state.

Grand Rapids received $30 million for an amphitheater project, which is projected to have a total cost of $116 million, according to WOOD-TV.

An unnamed Jackson theater was given $2.75 million. Although it is likely this is the historic Michigan Theater, the line item in the budget gives no details.

The Midland Community Center received $5 million after being given $6.5 million in the previous year’s budget.

The Edsel and Eleanor Ford House, in Grosse Pointe Shores, was given $1.8 million in taxpayer dollars.

The organization’s website describes it this way: “Whether your love is nature, art, history or design, you'll find it here: Ford House is a home of stories waiting to be uncovered.” The Ford House did not respond to a request for comment.

Michigan Capitol Confidential requested comment from various elected officials, including Sen. Jim Stamas, R-Midland, chair of the appropriations committee, and committee members Sen. Tom Barrett, R-Charlotte, Sen. Jon Bumstead, R-North Muskegon, Sen. Kim LaSata, R-Niles, and Sen. John Bizon, R-Battle Creek. None of the officials responded.

James Hohman, director of fiscal policy at the Mackinac Center, says Michigan’s spending patterns are not sustainable.

“The budget approved by Michigan’s legislature at the end of June hikes spending from state funds by 7%,” Hohman wrote in a blog post. “If lawmakers limited themselves to the growth of the state’s population and inflation, the state budget would only have grown 3.15%.”

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.