FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 1, 2019

press@equityfwd.org

646.326.4238

Anti-abortion group with a history of misusing tax payer funds removed from Michigan budget

Governor Whitmer makes common sense decision to cut program that has failed to meet benchmarks of state contract

10.01.19 – Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer released her list of line item vetos to the 2020 Michigan state budget. Among them was the removal of a $700,000 item that went to Real Alternatives, a Pennsylvania-based state contractor that operates anti-abortion programs in Michigan. 

Real Alternatives has a well-documented history of siphoning taxpayer money for private use. Equity Forward has called attention to the failures of Real Alternatives in its Real Waste campaign in Michigan and in ongoing lawsuits in Pennsylvania. Real Alternatives is also subject to a legal complaint in Michigan from Campaign for Accountability questioning how the organization spent Michiganders’ tax dollars. 

“Real Alternatives is a program that provides more benefits to the executive of an out of state contractor than it does for the people of Michigan,” said Mary Alice Carter, senior advisor of Equity Forward. 

“Governor Whitmer showed she is serious about cutting handouts to lobbyists and vendors when she ran her veto pen over this wasteful line item that failed to provide the services it promised while paying its top executives almost half a million a year. State budgets are tight and there is no room for spending on programs with questionable financial practices and poor results. Like Governor Rick Snyder before her who also zeroed out this program, Governor Whitmer recognized the failures and follies of this program.”

Background on Real Alternatives in Michigan

In Michigan, RA is tasked with carrying out the Michigan Pregnancy and Parenting Support Program (MPPSP). Yet instead of providing comprehensive, quality services to Michiganders, RA uses the state’s tax dollars to bankroll its expansion across state lines and to line its own executives’ pockets.

The following are major concerns raised about the Real Alternatives program. More information at www.RealWaste.org.

  • Real Alternatives funds its national expansion with public dollars meant to serve women in Michigan.

  • The top two executives at Real Alternatives upped their salaries to a combined $425,000 even after RA missed its state-mandated goals, serving fewer than 1,000 Michiganders each year

  • Real Alternatives failed to meet its benchmarks - only providing services to 3,771 pregnant people in the four and a half years it has operated in Michigan, when it promised to serve 2,000 in its first year alone

###