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