Just What Did The Governor Approve?
Democratic Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer is giving her approval to at least portions of legislation recently advanced by the Michigan State House and Senate. The bills deal with a variety of ways to address the ongoing COVID-19 virus outbreak and the state’s rigid control methods.
The total spending in the package was around $465 Million. Governor Whitmer however does not like many of the provisions. She’s objecting to items the Republican majority in the legislature approved without first getting the OK from her office. She pulled out her veto pen and went to work. When she was done, the Detroit News reports the Governor slashed about $225 million from the total.
The Governors says she approved $106 million of the spending, in what she characterizes as a “Bipartisan bill”. And she is claiming state unemployment benefits are extended to 26 weeks.
Republican Speaker of the House-elect Jason Wentworth immediately took the Governor to task. Wentworth says, “Just days after Christmas and two days before many extended benefits expire, the governor has ended unemployment support for far too many working families. She has made an incredible and shocking mistake, and the people of Michigan deserve an explanation now.” The Speaker-elect goes so far as to say, “She either doesn’t understand the legislation in front of her, or her actions today are just as cruel and tone-deaf as so many others have been during this pandemic.”
The Governor claims she is saving “precious” dollars from the state’s general fund. In one area, she claims she is preventing the waste of millions of dollars going to an important fund utilized by the state Unemployment Insurance Agency. “Big business” she says, does not need that kind of prop.
Marshall Republican State Representative Matt Hall then stepped up with this reply, “Small business owners are on the hook for these trust fund payments – and their livelihoods have already been impacted immensely by Gov. Whitmer’s shutdown orders. This funding would have taken some of the burden off local businesses who are charged with paying into the fund – providing Main Streets across Michigan with additional relief while the Legislature works to repair our state’s broken unemployment system.”
Representative Hall and Battle Creek Republican State Senator John Bizon have both been very critical of the state sending out hundreds of millions of dollars based on fraudulent unemployment claims. There appears to be little that any of those payments will be recovered. And still today, many people who have applied for unemployment benefits are still waiting to be approved by the state for the help. Representative Hall points out, “But Gov. Whitmer chose to deal another blow to small businesses and hardworking people with the stroke of her pen.”