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Letter to the Editor: Sen. Patrick Colbeck Says New Bills Limit Government

Colbeck says SB 802 requires all state departments to disclose tax dollars are spent; SB 21 offers 'a valuable tool to rein in government spending.'

Dear Editor, 

Ever wonder where all of your state taxpayer dollars go? I do. In fact, it was one of the questions that led me to run for office. As a concerned citizen, I had requested state spending information from our representatives. I was frustrated by the lack of useful information provided in response to my queries. Upon entering into public service myself, I understand why my previous requests met with such poor results. They didn’t have access to the information either. 

Thankfully, the lack of useful spending data has now been addressed with the passage of SB 802, which I introduced to require all state departments to publicly disclose how they are spending our money. The spending plans for each department in state government will soon be posted online for all 10,000,000 citizens of Michigan to review and analyze. 

Each state department will be responsible for defining their core services (i.e. the reason for their existence), their support services (i.e. IT, HR, Accounting, Legal...or overhead), and their work projects (i.e. their investments towards the improvement of their core and/or support services). For each service or work project, we will be able to see how much is spent on salaries, benefits, contracts and more. 

Coupled with the passage of Senator Tonya Schuitmaker's SB 21 regarding metrics, we will now have the first statutory basis in our state’s history for determining the price of government services and engage in "value for money" appropriations discussions! 

This new public act will promote limited government by providing us with a valuable tool to rein in government spending. In addition, it will arm legislators and residents with the data we need to manage our government services more like a business so that we maximize the value of every tax dollar that we spend and improve customer service. 

It is my hope that the availability of this information will also help open the door to more civil, bi-partisan discussions of spending priorities in state government …and perhaps even to set the stage for such discussions to occur at the federal level. 

Sen. Patrick Colbeck
Canton 

sine-of-the-times January 12, 2013 at 12:22 AM
Also, call the senator and ask him: Why he doesn't allow an Amendment to SB 619, unlimited Cyber Schools (that he pushed for and got), providing for their disclosure of finances? He does not want transparency for his for profit public charter cyber schools.
Tamara January 12, 2013 at 02:16 AM
Senator Colbeck, The bills sound great - thank you for your work on them! Government is not working as it is and big changes are needed. Transparency is needed, across the board. People need to get engaged, and they need to make government officials accountable. We have evolved to the point where these people are not fulfilling their intended roles and that means things need to be shaken up. Real leaders are the ones that do the right thing for the future of the whole, not just for now or just for themselves. Anything you can do that leads to transparency and accountability helps this cause and I applaud it. By the way, I don't blame you if you or your office does not engage with people that cannot act professional in their dealings with you. That never gets people anywhere good. Also, schools cannot be a monopoly because they are teaching what they want how they want. This is great for liberals because the liberal agenda is pushed in schools. This does not work for the good of the whole and options must be present. This is the reason there are laws against monopolies - some people may win but many end up losing and have no choice in the matter. All choices should be transparent, I agree.
sine-of-the-times January 12, 2013 at 03:14 AM
Respectfully disagreeing is considered disrespectful by his office. Even just posting an article that rebukes a position he takes will be, and is, deleted from his Senator, (not his personal-I mean Senator), facebook page. Try it once and you'll see that's all it takes, if you don't believe me. Try talking to him about the value of teachers as professionals and have him refer or equate your job to a "burger-flipper", yes, even he cannot control his emotions at times.
sine-of-the-times January 12, 2013 at 05:10 AM
In fact, I'll try to ban him in 2014...
Patti McCoin January 12, 2013 at 03:58 PM
He told me that parents can FOIA the information they want from the cyber schools. Why are neighborhood schools providing that information on their websites but cyber schools can charge for complying with the FOIA request?

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