Lansing, Mich. — State Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, introduced legislation on Tuesday that would make reports of government assets available to the public.
“Our state government has billions of dollars’ worth of assets like buildings and vehicles which were bought at taxpayer expense,” said Colbeck. “As of today, there is no centralized database of state property. If there were such a database, it would assist lawmakers in identifying ways to raise funds without having to resort to tax or fee increases. Wouldn’t it be nice if state officials were to sell off assets, much like many of us do on eBay or via garage sales, before they reached into your wallet for more money?”
Senate Bill 849 would require each state department to report all of its assets over $5,000 in value to the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget. It would require a description of each asset, its fair market value, and the asset’s rate of use. This information would then be made available online for the public to access. By making this information available to the public, residents would be better informed about how their tax money is being used.
The bill is an extension of Colbeck’s previous transparency legislation, PA 536 of 2012, which provides transparency as to the costs of government services. The data resulting from this legislation can be found at www.tenmillionaccountants.com.
SB 849 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Elections and Government Reform for further consideration.