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A look at $625M in budget shifts made by Whitmer-led board

LANSING (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday took the rare step of using a board to shift funds within 13 state departments, a day after she signed a $59 billion budget and vetoed nearly $1 billion in spending that had been approved by the Republican-led Legislature.
The Democrat said she reallocated $625 million in funding to protect the public’s health and safety.
The State Administrative Board includes Whitmer, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, three Cabinet members and Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, both Democrats.
A look at some of the panel’s actions:

EDUCATION
Nearly $315 million was transferred to fully fund the Department of Education. GOP lawmakers had set aside three-quarters of the agency’s funding in reserve, subject to being spent later only if the department met certain conditions such as releasing A-through-F letter grades for public schools by March 31.
The department missed a Sept. 1 deadline to issue the grades, saying necessary data was not available, which irked some legislators.

ATTORNEY GENERAL
Nearly $91 million was shifted to consolidate the department’s base operating funds. Nessel said the budget as passed would have created an “administrative nightmare,” forcing her to hire extra staff and spend money solely for bookkeeping.
“This is money better spent actually providing legal services to the people of the state,” she said. Whitmer declared unconstitutional and unenforceable a GOP-backed requirement that Nessel notify lawmakers when she sues the federal government and to estimate the legal costs.
Whitmer said Nessel informed her that she would be pleased to appear before legislators to explain the basis for suits against the U.S. government.

HEALTH AND
HUMAN SERVICES
$22.5 million was shifted. DHHS Director Robert Gordon said the transfer moved the agency “in the direction of a minimally adequate budget” with steps such as funding the implementation of work requirements for hundreds of thousands of enrollees in the state’s Medicaid expansion program that take effect in January.
Whitmer opposes the work rules. But she wants to ensure recipients know about monthly reporting requirements so they do not lose their insurance.

ENVIRONMENTAL,
GREAT LAKES AND ENERGY
$7.5 million was transferred from private well testing to implementing tougher rules for lead in drinking water.

Source: State Administrative Board