LOWELL, Mich. (WOOD) — A state representative from Lowell on Wednesday stepped down as chair of the House Appropriations Committee, citing objections to a supplemental budget measure going before the Legislature.
Rep. Thomas Albert, R-Lowell, said in a statement that “now is not the time for the state to commit to spending more money,” explaining his concerns about an uncertain economy and state revenue.
The statement did not explain how much the supplemental budget would spend nor where that money would go. Albert described it as “reckless and irresponsible to taxpayers” and said he would vote against it.
The statement implied that the bill had the backing of Speaker of the House Jason Wentworth, R-Clare:
“The Appropriations chair is appointed by the Speaker, and they should have compatible visions for the committee’s work,” Albert’s statement said.
Albert’s full statement:
“Over the past year few years, the state of Michigan has adopted budgets that greatly benefit families, communities and taxpayers. I am proud of the work we have done and know it is making our state an even place to live, work and raise a family. But today it is time for a change in leadership for the House Appropriations Committee.
“I cannot support the supplemental budget measure that is before the Legislature today. As I said at the beginning of this month — now is not the time for the state to commit to spending more money. We are in the beginning stages of a global recession and we still don’t know how bad the economy will get in the coming months. We simply do not know if tax revenues will come into the state as we anticipated previously. The wise thing to do is keep money on hand to ensure we can fulfill budget commitments already signed into law, and possibly return money to Michigan taxpayers struggling with inflation. With all of the uncertainty in the economy today, we should not be making new spending commitments.
“Increased government spending has fueled inflation and played a major part in the economic struggles we face today. Additional spending would just make things worse. The measure the Legislature is considering today is reckless and irresponsible to taxpayers, and I will be voting against it.
“The Appropriations chair is appointed by the Speaker, and they should have compatible visions for the committee’s work. I am stepping aside so the Speaker may appoint a new chair.
“I would like to thank the Speaker for the opportunity to lead this committee, and express my gratitude for legislators on both sides of the aisle who worked through the budget process to help Michigan residents, communities and taxpayers.”