Jones: State should seek bids for lease agreements

LANSING — To help save taxpayer money and increase government transparency, Sen. Rick Jones recently introduced a measure to require the state to take bids when leasing property.

Senate Bill 793 would mandate the state take bids when leasing property, as it already does when purchasing property. The bill also establishes that the state department employee responsible for seeking bids shall not meet with a lobbyist outside the workplace unless posted in accordance with the Open Meetings Act.

“When the state buys a building we put it out for bid and get the best price for the taxpayers,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “I think we should do the same for leasing buildings.”

According to Jones, the recent Michigan State Police Headquarters is an example of a “single source” no-bid deal because it was originally a lease agreement.

In order to prevent another such “boondoggle,” last session Jones worked on legislation with Rep. Paul Opsommer and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, who was serving in the House of Representatives at the time. Those measures would have required future lease agreements to be bid.

“I believe that Michigan taxpayers are paying way too much per square foot when we lease a building,” Jones said. “It’s high time we put a stop to this wasteful spending.”