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Michigan Taxpayers Alliance Updates: Drinks are on you! You're paying to lobby against yourself!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Drinks are on you! You're paying to lobby against yourself!

When you think of Lansing lobbyists spending money on gifts, trips, meals and drinks for state lawmakers, who comes to mind? Big corporations like IBM, Toyota, Comerica Bank, Meijer, and Anheuser Busch? Big interest groups like the ACLU, Realtors, and the Life Insurance Association of Michigan?

Guess what? Your own government spends more to lobby itself than all the groups listed above. Believe it or not, the Office of the Governor uses your tax dollars to lobby state legislators - and spends more on lobbying than Chrysler Corporation, Compuware, or the Detroit Auto Dealers Association.

According to research by the MI Campaign Finance Network, last year the Governor's Office used $63,672 of your tax dollars to wine and dine other state politicians. Governor Granholm's administration didn't stop there; her Department of Education increased its' lobbying budget by 49% last year. The Department of Environmental Quality upped its' lobbying by 12%, and the Governor's MI Economic Development Corporation - a failure at expanding our state's economy - succeeded at expanding its' own lobbying budget by 106%. Even the MI Department of Treasury (the bureaucrats in charge of taking your income) used your money to lobby politicians - and increased its' lobby budget by 2% last year to $92,532.

What do these government departments use your tax dollars to lobby for? They lobby for even more of your tax dollars. Guess who's paying to lobby legislators for a graduated state income tax, higher fees, and more spending on bigger budgets? You are! The money taken from your paycheck is being used by the Governor and her bureaucrats to lobby for more money from your paycheck.

Your state government isn't the only government in MI using tax dollars to influence politicians. Every state university does it (MSU increased its lobby budget 25% last year), as do many community colleges (Macomb Community College's lobbying went up by 128%) and many local school districts (Oakland County's ISD upped its' lobby spending by 80%). Even the Detroit Public Library spent $44,939 (up 79%) to woo state politicians last year.

Next time Governor Granholm claims budgets in Lansing are cut to the bone, remember that her budgets' for lobbying politicians are going up. In fact, tonight is Tuesday - a day the state legislature is in session. When you sit down for dinner this evening, its quite possible that your taxes will be paying for state bureaucrats to lobby politicians' at fine restaurants in Lansing. You'll be paying for several dinners tonight - your family's and your government's. Guess who's having the finest cut of steak?

Enjoy your meal,

Leon Drolet
MI Taxpayers Alliance