Pork Stories

Grand Rapids museum has benefited from a decade of pork

Legislative earmarks go back to at least 2014

The Grand Rapids Public Museum appears to be favored by Michigan’s state government. It has received millions of dollars since 2014 under two governors, several legislative terms, and four state budgets.

DBusiness reported in October that the museum is undergoing a $50 million expansion. The 2024 state budget gave it a $1 million appropriation, though the budget document did not indicate which legislator requested the money.

CapCon has previously reported on the problems involved with pork projects, which reward hand-picked winners with grants that do not go through the usual committee process or come with safeguards on how the money is spent.

As CapCon reported in 2016, a voter-approved Kent County ballot proposal increased property taxes by $9.2 million, with funds going to the Grand Rapids Public Museum and a local zoo. State lawmakers gave the museum $11 million from the 2023 fiscal year budget, as CapCon reported in November 2022.

As far back as 2014, the museum received $2 million from state taxpayers, which CapCon reported at the time.

The museum reported $10,507,149 in revenue and $8,030,193 in contributions in 2022 on its Form 990, which nonprofits submit to the Internal Revenue Service.

It spent $3,146,156 on salaries, 34.7% of total expenses.

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.