Bills increasing government transparency and accountability signed into law

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LANSING, Mich.— Two bills signed into law Wednesday will require state departments to develop spending plans and measure the success of programs receiving taxpayer funding.

“The people of Michigan have a right to know how their hard-earned tax dollars are being spent,” said Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R–Lawton, sponsor of Public Act 535. “These measures will make sure state departments and agencies are held accountable for money they receive.”

PA 535 will require each agency to have a strategic mission, vision, goals, and a balanced scorecard in place. The scorecard will have to include metrics for measuring an agency’s performance in certain areas. It would focus on financial dimensions along with other vital areas such as employees, customers, processes, and any other area crucial to successfully fulfilling its mission.

PA 536, sponsored by Sen. Patrick Colbeck, will require agencies to classify each line item in the budget by spending category. Each agency would also have to prepare a spending plan for each line item in the budget. The State Budget Office will be responsible for approving spending plans and making them available online.

“Throughout my service I have worked to make government more accessible to the people.  Requiring government agencies to measure the success of taxpayer-funded programs and making spending information available to the public is a step toward increased efficiency and more responsible government,” said Schuitmaker.

Sen. Colbeck further remarked: “With the passage of these transparency bills, we will now have the first statutory basis for determining the true price of government services in our state’s history!” said Colbeck, R-canton. “For fans of our constitutionally limited government, such as me, this public act will provide us with a valuable tool to rein in government spending. It is my hope that the availability of this information will also help open the door to a more civil, bipartisan discussion of spending priorities in state government, and perhaps even to set the stage for such discussions to occur at the federal level.”

Public Act 535 and 536 have already taken effect.