Townsend, Brown: Dock Lawmakers' Pay For Failing to Pass Budget on Time

Elected officials, including governor, would forfeit pay if budget is not set by July 1
Thursday, February 10, 2011

LANSING – In an effort to bring accountability to state government, State Representatives Jim Townsend (D-Royal Oak) and Lisa Brown (D-West Bloomfield) today introduced a plan to dock state elected officials’ pay if they do not pass the state budget by July 1.

“Lawmakers who don’t do their job shouldn’t get paid,” said Townsend, lead sponsor of the plan. “Year after year, partisan budget fights have hurt Michigan’s economic recovery – we can’t allow that to continue. Elected officials who can’t do their job should be held accountable. Our residents deserve an efficient state government that gets results. This plan will hold politicians’ feet to the fire so they get to work addressing Michigan’s fiscal challenges in a meaningful and productive way.”

The plan will require that the state budget be passed by both the state Senate and House of Representatives and signed into law by July 1. Under the plan, legislators would lose a day’s pay for every day that the budget is not presented to the Governor after July 1. Once the budget is presented, the Governor and Lt. Governor would also lose a day’s pay for every day after July 1 that it remains unsigned.

Moving the budget deadline to July 1 would help local governments and schools – which rely heavily on state funding – that often must plan their budgets months before the state’s current Oct. 1 budget deadline. Under the current law, local governments and schools are often forced to adjust to major cuts in funding from the state after their fiscal years begin, which threatens their ability to serve our residents and educate our children.

“Our residents need jobs, not bickering politicians who can’t even fulfill their primary responsibility of passing a budget,” said Brown, who also sponsored the plan. “We need more accountability from top to bottom in Lansing. I teach my boys at home that there are consequences for not doing their work. That same principle should apply in Lansing. Docking elected officials’ pay will help ensure they are focused on balancing the budget in a timely fashion, so that we can move Michigan forward.”