Michigan House Republicans
Wozniak: Defunding the auditor general would have devastating repercussions
RELEASE|May 7, 2024
Contact: Doug Wozniak

Our government is built on checks and balances. Unfortunately, some politicians are intent on manipulating the system so they can avoid accountability altogether. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s blatant budgetary threat toward Michigan’s nonpartisan Office of the Auditor General (OAG) is a prime example.

The governor is proposing an $8.3 million, 28 percent, net budget cut to the OAG, whose primary function is conducting audits of state agencies and departments. Their job starts and ends there. They don’t have the authority to enact sweeping changes. Their only function is to receive audit requests, review relevant documents records and practices, and report back to the Legislature on their findings. They are the people’s watchdog in state government and that is the department budget the Governor wants to cut by 28%.

In a letter to House and Senate leaders, Auditor General Doug Ringler explained how the cut would kneecap the OAG’s ability to fulfill audit requirements and could even put federal funding at risk.

The OAG’s nonpartisan audits have repeatedly exposed failures in the Whitmer administration. In addition to finding nearly $10 billion in fraudulent payments paid out by the Unemployment Insurance Administration, the OAG has identified: unreported deaths in long-term care facilities during Whitmer’s COVID-19 shutdown; found that the Department of Education did not ensure contracted school staff submitted to required fingerprinting and criminal background checks; uncovered a serious backlog in case investigation at the Department of Civil Rights; revealed that the Department of Transportation has been inefficient with, both, road funding dollars and inspections of critical hospital infrastructure; and more.

We cannot allow the OAG to be defunded simply because its findings of financial and performance mismanagement are politically inconvenient or uncomfortable for our executive officeholder.

We should support and take heed of the OAG’s important work and use its findings to improve the operation of state government, rather than cutting their budget and capacity. The OAG’s essential audits enable the administrative and legislative branches of government to oversee and ensure the departments and offices that comprise the bureaucracy are carrying out their assigned responsibilities appropriately.

As we enter the very busy legislative budgeting season, I refuse to let funding for the OAG get lost in the shuffle only to become the next casualty of Democrat control.

State Rep. Doug Wozniak represents the 59th House District, which includes portions of Macomb and Shelby townships.

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