Deeper Look Into Governor Whitmer’s Budget Cuts Surprised Me
Over the past couple of weeks I have been focusing on the unprecedented number of line vetoes Governor Whitmer committed to the 2019-2020 Michigan Budget. Those line item vetoes totaled 147 and accounted for $947 million in cuts.
What about the $625 million in taxpayer funds Governor Whitmer transferred within department budgets, with the approval of her political State Administrative Board? These funds transferred within each department’s budget have now illuminated even further cuts to popular programs of the left and the right.
If we look at just within the Department of Health and Human Services budget I found that several line items were vetoed as approved by the legislature and reduced to $100. Those line items were:
- a Western Michigan University clinic
- shelters to aid abused women
- the Michigan Health Information Network
- a Kent County foster care program
- centers for abused children
I then found that Whitmer made the following cuts:
- reimbursements to court-appointed guardians which was dropped to $1,100
- A transfer in the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, $3.75 million from the Jobs for Michigan Graduates program that helps at-risk high school students with career preparation, also has generated considerable concern.
Whitmer’s cuts go even farther and I found out that the following programs lost funding through her transfers:
- The Centers for Independent Living, which works with those with disabilities, which has received $2 million a year in the past and would have gotten $3.5 million under the Legislature's budget;
- Adoption support services, which would not get a 6.5 percent increase the Legislature approved totaling $700,000;
- Multicultural organizations would lose half their funding, totaling $8.1 million, affecting organizations like the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services, the Chaldean Community Foundation, the Jewish Federation and the Arab American-Chaldean Council.
You really have to stop and ask yourself: What was Governor Whitmer doing? Although, I would have to say that cutting funding to any organization that has nothing to do with running our government I would have to agree with. Why are organizations like the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services, the Chaldean Community Foundation, the Jewish Federation and the Arab American-Chaldean Council receiving any taxpayer funding? I am sure they are doing great work, but why do Michigan Taxpayers have to help fund them, what do they do that effects all of Michigan citizens?
So much for our legislators saying there is nothing in our budgets to cut.
In case you hear anyone stating that these transfers have happened before via the Governor and their political State Administrative Board, that is absolutely not true. Governor Engler was the only previous Governor who threatened to do so but never did because he and the legislature came to a budget agreement.
Transfers have occurred in the past but only after the administration requested them from the Legislature, and the House and Senate Appropriations committees approved them.
I am amazed that a person who has told Michiganders her entire political career, and while campaigning for Governor, that she cared about people and then made cuts to the programs highlighted above.
Interesting and telling.