Today, The Detroit News published an article titled “Want legislation to pass? Break up the bill.” The author of the article, Karen Suhaka, argues that breaking up legislative bills into separate bills would make them more acceptable and easier to pass.
This is a common sense solution to a problem that we often see in our government. Huge bills that contain pages and pages of information are ripe for government pork. Instead of a bill solely focused on an income tax cut, it may contain language to spend $500 on your local park, or something that is ridiculous and off-topic. This is an example of pork barrel spending.
Pork Barrel Spending is defined as “a metaphor for the appropriation of government spending for localized projects secured solely or primarily to bring money to a representative’s district.”
Not only is pork spending an issue in Michigan, but it is a big deal nationwide. As many of us recall, in 2010 the infamous Stimulus Bill was signed into law. The Stimulus Bill was supposed to grant money to public projects to stimulate the economy. Here are some examples of pork from that bill:
- $17 million for the International Fund of Ireland
- $693,000 for beef improvement research in Missouri
- $4.8 million for wood utilization research
- $500,000 for brown tree snake control and interdiction in Guam
These are only some of the ridiculous examples of pork and there are thousands more that can be brought up with a quick google search, “stimulus bill, pork spending.” If the stimulus was broken up into smaller, efficient bills it may have controlled the amount of regulations and spending, while being more popular.
Historically, our State does a good job of controlling its pork but there’s a bigger issue at hand. We could be passing more bills to cut taxes, cut regulations, and revitalize our economy if the bills being debated before the legislature were smaller, easier to understand, and focused on one main issue.
Let us know what you think! Should the bills being passed in Michigan be smaller and more efficient, or should we discuss numerous issues at one time?