Michigan lawmakers making outside-the-box suggestions to save money
LANSING, Mich. (SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP) - Although the Michigan legislature is not in session, it's not stopping some lawmakers from trying to find ways for your to save money.
Tonight, we're taking a look at two bills that could save the state a lot of money.
State Lawmakers are looking at outside the box ways to save taxpayers millions of dollars, including cutting people off state benefits.
Right now, state workers can sign up their boyfriends and girlfriends for government-funded benefits. State Senator Rick Jones has a bill that says if state workers want it, they should put a ring on it.
"To paraphrase Beyonce, we are not going to give state benefits to your live in boyfriend and girlfriend. Get married or you're getting cut off," he said.
The State Budget Office tells us 123 people take advantage of the benefits; costing taxpayers three quarters of a million dollars every year.
Labor unions that negotiated the deal are fighting to keep the benefits.
The deal was collectively bargained in the Granholm era when same-sex marriage wasn't legal.
Jones' says taxpayers shouldn't foot the bill any longer.
"I think the state should only give benefits to people who are married," he said.
Another idea to save money is coming from State Representative Jeff Yaroch, who wants to literally close the doors of the State Senate and go to a unicameral system of government.
Yaroch says having a House and Senate is redundant.
"When we are trying to look at our cost and how we provide service, we are telling local government they need to be more efficient? We need to start at the top and we need to say do we really need two Houses? If we close one House and have a single House we are going to save $50 million," he said.
The only other state that has one legislative body is Nebraska.
We'll let you know if the bills make it to Governor Rick Snyder's desk.