Michigan House Updates 110 Chairs with Taxpayer Money
Michigan lawmakers are in the middle of their summer vacation, but debates over House rulings are still raging in the state. A recent proposal to replace the chairs of the Michigan House could use up $100,000 of maintenance funds, provided by taxpayers, which many argue should be going to road maintenance rather than chairs.
Those who regulate upkeep of the Capitol building state that the old chairs, which have now seen 24 years in the House, were not ergonomically designed, and have suffered too much wear and tear. Furthermore, the chairs have apparently been damaging desks in the building because they were not designed to be used with those particular desks. Only one member of the House voted against the update, while the rest of House members voted for the update, joining a unanimous vote from the Senate as well. Lawmakers against the update are stating that the maintenance funds should be spent on other projects which benefit the community, such as updating roads, rather than making House members more comfortable at their desks.
But House business manager Tim Bowlin states that these updates would have to take place at some point in the future, and that taxpayers will be saving money in the long run by making the updates now. The maintenance funding, Bowlin claims, was never meant to be used for roadwork, and has always been intended for Capitol building repairs and restoration. It should also be noted that maintenance funds are taken from tobacco taxes, meaning that Americans actually have the choice to not pay for updates such as these, by choosing not to use tobacco products.
The cost of 110 new chairs was determined after six different Michigan-based furniture companies submitted bids for the sale. Chairs ranged from $800 to $1,300 each, meaning that the House is planning on choosing chairs which are on the cheaper end of the spectrum — if the update continues as planned. It appears that the Michigan House has put a great deal of effort into considering the most affordable options, and are planning to conduct the transaction through a professional furniture company to make sure that the moving process goes as smoothly as possible. Furthermore, it should be noted that the House appears to be giving support specifically to Michigan-based companies, rather than looking at making a purchase through an out-of-state company. Although the update could cost about $100,000, it seems that the House is trying to keep as much of that money circulating in the Michigan economy.