The House Government Operations Committee today approved a common-sense solution put forward by state Rep. Ben Frederick to address Michigan’s ongoing budget standoff.
Frederick, of Owosso, said the plan relates to the State Administrative Board, which Gov. Whitmer recently used to unilaterally shift $625 million in taxpayer money without oversight or accountability. His proposal would preserve some of the board’s powers while preventing gubernatorial abuse of the system.
Frederick said Gov. Whitmer used the State Administrative Board to eliminate Legislature-approved support for some of Michigan’s most vulnerable people – defunding programs to help children in foster care, boost court-appointed advocates for children, help at-risk youth and child sexual abuse victims, and fight human trafficking. She instead shifted the funds into her own bureaucratic priorities.
“The governor’s use of the administrative board is deeply concerning. She orchestrated an unprecedented power grab and hurt some of our most vulnerable residents along the way,” Frederick said. “I’m offering a reasonable, good government reform designed to protect the budget process and ensure vulnerable people cannot be used as pawns again – with any governor, Republican or Democrat.”
Frederick’s proposal would limit the amount of money the board could redirect in any one line-item to $200,000 in one budget year.
“This reform would ensure a governor cannot eliminate funding for entire programs without input from legislators, while preserving the ability of the executive branch to move funds between budget lines throughout the fiscal year with a reasonable cap,” Frederick said.
Limiting the amounts of money that can be transferred by the State Administrative Board would return Michigan to the parameters of the 1970s and 1980s under Gov. Milliken, adjusted for inflation. It also would place a proper emphasis on current procedures for budget-related transfers that the Legislature and governor’s administration routinely use year-round.
House Bill 5175 now moves to the House for consideration.