No More Free Rides

By: A.J. Hilton Email
By: A.J. Hilton Email

In order to help with the budget deficit, Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Clifford Taylor called for his colleauges to give up their state vehicles. The Michigan Supreme Court agreed, and will turn them in at the vehicle and transportation services office. Chief Taylor wasn't done. He's calling for the states appellate judges to do the same.

"They will be restricting all state vehicles to only business milage," said Chief Judge William Whitbeck of the Michigan Court of Appeals. "That has ended the debate."

Chief Judge Whitbeck was appointed ot the Michigan Court of Appeals in 1997. He says he uses his vehicle to make business trips at least once a week. According to Whitbeck, in the big picture, appellate judges giving up state vehicles is relatively small.

"For our court in this fiscal year-- the savings will be about $54,000. That obviously is not going to balance the state's budget."

Between the Supreme Court's office and the Court of Appeals, the state will save more than $420,000 a year. Whitbeck believes it was only a matter of time before a change was due.

"We are facing some very very tough times...I agree while this issue is very much symbolistic, none the less it is an issue that resonates.

Interestingly enough, new legislation was introduced Monday to end free cars for judges. The Justices may have voluntarily handed over their keys, and others may follow their lead. Not because they want to, because they must.

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  • by Ingrid I. Location: Grand Ledge on Apr 24, 2007 at 06:18 AM
    Well it's about time, now how about giving back some of that six figures they make a year? A loaf of bread costs the judges as much as it costs a minimun wage earner!When I hear the judges giving back their pay raises, then I will believe they have "Moral Fiber" and are not just doing something to get the heat off them.
  • by Martha Location: St. Johns on Apr 24, 2007 at 05:08 AM
    Are you kidding me?? $54,000.00 won't make a difference? My state job requires me to drive my own car with reimbursement at .485 a mile with an raking up an average of 225 or so miles a month. The Judge's should also be required to do the same!! Way to go for Justice Taylor for trying to make a differnce and shame on Judge Whitbeck.
  • by Kim Location: Mason on Apr 24, 2007 at 05:04 AM
    Good for them Judges. Now if we can get Senators and Lawmakers to follow suit. Anyone who makes $60,000 a year or more should be able to buy their own car. That goes for anyone driving a taxpayers auto.
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