Here we go again.
Republicans in the Michigan Legislature are talking about using money from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund to build roads and dredge harbors. Such action is currently prohibited because a voter approved amendment to the Michigan Constitution requires that the Trust Fund be used exclusively to acquire public land and develop recreational resources — such as parks, trails and fishing piers.
The Republicans made a run at the Natural Resources Trust Fund in the last legislative session, and their attempt to raid the fund went nowhere. This time, the GOP may have more resolve. Republican leaders are talking about asking voters to approve a constitutional amendment that would allow Trust Fund monies to be used for things other than buying land and developing recreational resources.
I find this so odd.
Michigan’s Natural Resources Trust Fund, which is funded by royalties from oil and natural gas wells, is the envy of most other states. The fund has been an unqualified success. I know this because I’ve written about the fund in the past. Read my article here.
The Trust Fund has awarded 1,957 grants totaling $959 million during its 36-year history: $757 million went to buying land; the remaining $202 million was used to develop outdoor recreation facilities. The program is wildly popular.
So why do Michigan Republicans want to fix something that isn’t broken. For that, you’ll have to read this article in the Detroit News.