Republicans say a $28 million emergency appropriation for Flint should come with some accountability measures to make sure that money is spent wisely.
The bill flew through the state House with unanimous support the day after Governor Rick Snyder requested the special funding during his State of the State Address. The Senate is expected to move swiftly next week to send the money to Snyder’s desk.
The bulk of the funding is expected to pay for immediate needs, such as bottled water and filters for Flint residents dealing with the city’s ongoing tap water crisis. But Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive) wants to make sure the money goes where it’s supposed to. “I think, just make sure that what we’re spending the money on is actually going to solve problems, and we’re going to take a good look at that. I think it does. But we’ll make sure that is does,” Meekhof told reporters on Thursday. “We’re responsible to the taxpayers to make sure that if we’re spending that money that way we are going to get results.” Meekhof says he plans to ask the state auditor general’s office to track how the money is spent and report back to lawmakers on an ongoing basis.
Meanwhile, the top Democrat in the state Senate – who also happens to represent Flint - is demanding more state aid for preventative programs to help deal with the crisis. Minority Leader Jim Ananich says the money is desperately needed in his city. “The importance is getting this done is critical. I mean, the citizens of my community are begging for help. And this is a step in the right direction,” said Ananich. But he says more money is needed for early intervention and nutrition programs for Flint kids who are exposed to lead.