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Whitmer wants $8 million budget cut for government watchdog

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(The Center Square) – House Republican Leader Matt Hall opposes a plan to cut the budget of the nonpartisan Office of the Auditor General by $8.2 million.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s 2025 proposal includes cutting $8.2 million in funding from the agency that has exposed many problems within state agencies.

Recent audits have found:

The Unemployment Insurance Agency failed to perform some employee background checks or sever timely ex-employee access to databases.The Michigan Department of Education never fingerprinted 4% of contracted staff, and 7% weren’t done on time as required by state statute.The OAG found the Cannabis Regulatory Agency “averaged 196 days and took up to 757 days to complete disciplinary action for 123 formal complaints involving licensee violations.”Critical hospital infrastructure needs to be inspected more often.

Auditor General Doug Ringler wrote a letter to the four top legislative leaders – Democrats Sen. Winnie Brinks, of Grand Rapids, House Speaker Joe Tate, of Detroit, and Republicans Sen. Aric Nesbitt, of Porter Township, and Hall, Richland Township – saying he received no advanced notice of the budget cuts.

“We received no advance notice of the executive budget reductions and no direct feedback regarding the reason behind them,” Ringler wrote. “I look forward to meeting with you or other designated personnel to discuss any questions you may have and to work toward restoring our funding so we can continue to provide valuable oversight and partnership in an independent, objective, and transparent manner.”

Tate spokesperson Amber McCann told The Center Square in an email:

“It is early on in the legislative process for developing the budget. The Speaker has received the Auditor General’s letter and is reviewing his concerns.”

Hall opposed the proposed budget cuts.

“Gov. Whitmer’s administration has received multiple failing grades from this investigative office throughout her tenure, and to keep her future aspirations intact, she wants to make sure no one is checking her homework,” Hall said in a statement “In a budget proposal spending more than $80 billion, this cut appears to be a calculated and intentional attack on the only remaining nonpartisan oversight body. The Legislature must reject the governor’s cuts and fully fund the auditor general’s vital work — shedding sunshine on state government and helping the people of Michigan and their elected representatives know what works and what’s broken.”

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