Yesterday, the Michigan House passed the $38.8 billion budget bill by a vote of 76-32. 1 The budget includes a variety of important expenditures such as funding for veterans programs. There is no question that we must take better care of America’s greatest class of citizens.
Needless to say, this deal was too good to be true. Included in the budget deal was funding for the Capitol Views project. In case anyone is unfamiliar, the Capitol Views project is a new building for senate offices, because your Senator decided that his old office is simply not good enough.
The new move for Senate offices will not be without an astronomical cost to taxpayers. As Mlive has noted, the purchase price of the Capitol View Building is estimated around $51 million dollars. 2 This does not take into effect variable costs that will add to the bill.
State Representative Scott Dianda brilliantly summed up how the average Michigander feels about this issue, “Like my constituents in the U.P., I am baffled as to why the Senate would move out of a building that’s paid for and into a building where they will now have to pay rent…Last year, the Senate wanted a total of $134 million over the course of 30 years to pay for these fancy new offices.” 3
The legislators are attempting to sell the capitol views project as a one time, $51 million fee, but it is apparent that it is going to cost upwards of $134 million as quoted above.
Just last year, there was a $454 million shortfall in Michigan’s budget. It almost seems too sensible that instead of moving into a new, luxurious Senate office, the legislators should choose to use that money to help pay off the shortfall. 4
The Senate doesn’t need a new building but we all can think of people who desperately do, such as the schoolchildren of Detroit Public Schools. That is one example of where millions of dollars would be better spent.
These lavish offices are an insult to the average Michigander who is struggling to reach ends meet.
Call your legislator and let them know that it is time for them to focus on their constituents and not their own needs.
 – “Most R’s, some Dems jump aboard ‘big bus’ budget,” MIRS, 4/28/16
 – “Michigan Senate moving forward with plans to spend up to $70M on new office space,” Mlive, 2/18/15
 – “Dianda asks Schuette to investigate Senate capitol view project,” HouseDems, 3/10/16
 – “Michigan House Agency: $454m shortfall this year,” Detroit News, 1/14/15