Dear Editor,

Later this year, as a resident of Goodland Township, I will be faced with three very critical ballot proposals.

These proposals will be to fund our county’s Veterans Affairs Office, EMS coverage for Lapeer County, and funds for our roads.

All three programs are important to this community. Yet, voting to support any or all of these ballot measures will cause my local taxes to increase and will make my day-to-day financial choices for our household more difficult.

This situation will not be unique to me, all voters in Goodland Township will be faced with the same issues.

The frustration that serves as the catalyst for this letter is not the thought of casting a vote for these three issues.

To me they are easy decisions to make. However, I am outraged that earlier this year, my tax dollars were used to fund a vast array of projects, that were local in nature, just not local to Goodland Township.

At the end of March, a $1.2 trillion-dollar omnibus spending bill was signed into law. This was another last-minute attempt to keep the Federal Government funded to avoid a shutdown.

But politicians learned a long time ago, if they ignore a problem until the last minute, they can rush through really bad legislation loaded with irresponsible spending. This omnibus spending proved to be no different.

According to Senator Rand Paul’s website this legislation had over 6,000 earmarks of pork. Many of those earmarks funded local projects around the country. Here are a handful of those local projects Senator Paul noted:

1. $4 million for a waterfront walkway in New Jersey

2. $3.5 million for Detroit’s Thanksgiving Parade float maker’s new headquarters

3. $1.75 million for the Met (The Metropolitan Museum of Art) in New York City

4. $1 million for an environmental justice center in New York City

5. $500,000 for gardens in San Francisco

6. $1 million to a non-profit in Minnesota to build a coffee shop and a greenhouse for refugees

7. $1 million to help San Francisco organic dairy farmers

8. $500,000 for a “cybercrime vehicle” for the Honolulu police department

9. $1.2 million for bike path resurfacing in Rhode Island

10. $209,000 for HVAC replacement for the “Charles Town Opera House” in West Virginia

It is worth noting this is only a sample of domestic projects funded by the omnibus spending bill and does not begin to detail the projects funded in foreign countries.

Our two US Senators, Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow and our US Representative Lisa McClain voted in favor of this omnibus spending bill and supported the funding of these projects.

My tax dollars should not be used to fund these types of projects in other communities. Those projects mean absolutely nothing to me.

Just as I am being asked to pay more in taxes to tackle critical issues in my community the people in those communities should decide if they want to fund those projects with their tax dollars.

My roads are more critical to me than the HVAC system in an Opera House in West Virginia.

The EMS coverage for my community is more critical to me than a coffee shop and greenhouse for refugees in Minnesota.

The care for my neighbors that served my country is much more critical to me than a cybercrime vehicle in Hawaii.

I am critical of the votes cast from the three people that represent me in the federal legislature. Their votes squander my tax dollars to fund frivolous projects across the country, while important and critical projects are needed in my community.

I am sure Senator Peters, Senator Stabenow, and Representative McClain are proud of the work they put in to pass the omnibus spending bill to keep the Federal Government open.

After all, they worked extra hours into the nights and over the weekend to get that funding passed.

However, I am disappointed in their decision making. I expect my elected officials to do the right thing for their constituents.

I am not impressed with their tolerance of addressing fiscal and funding issues at the last second, and then rushing to pass something that is unread and unvetted just to proclaim victory that the government did not shutdown. That is not a victory, that is irresponsible.

With the out-of-control inflation we are experiencing in this country, American families struggle to pay for the day-to-day necessities.

I expect elected officials to take their responsibilities seriously. It is unacceptable the tax revenues generated in Goodland Township will be used to fund frivolous pork barrel spending across the country.

In November, I pray we will hold people accountable for their actions.

— Michael Puzzuoli
Goodland Township