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Hold Unemployment accountable

Last week, Michigan’s nonpartisan Office of the Auditor General reported the Whitmer Administration’s Unemployment Insurance Agency made an estimated $245.1 million in improper payments to deceased people, incarcerated inmates, individuals too young or too old to receive unemployment and the department’s own employees between January 2020 and October 2022.

This is another alarming report of gross mismanagement of taxpayer dollars by the Whitmer Administration. The Governor and her appointed officials have continued to downplay these serious findings and claim they’ve fixed these problems; yet this audit clearly shows the problems continued well beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. All Michiganders should be alarmed that Gov. Whitmer and Lansing Democrats are pushing for even more increases on payroll taxes for workers to fund even more unemployment benefits to be mismanaged by this disastrous agency.

Fixing Michigan’s broken unemployment agency to manage tax dollars appropriately and help people get back to work — and lowering, not increasing, the tax burdens on Michigan workers and small businesses — should be the top bipartisan priorities of the Legislature when it reconvenes in 2024.

The final audit found the agency failed to attempt to identify a large share of imposter claims or to recover many payments and penalties. The report revealed the agency continued to issue payments even after discoveries that an individual was dead or in prison, noting the UIA did not identify or act to evaluate whether the payments were appropriate.

This series of audits began in response to a request from me and other legislators. I introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution 29 in June 2020, calling for a financial and performance audit of the UIA. It was unanimously approved by the Senate.

Should you have any questions or concerns about the legislature or state government, please do not hesitate to contact my office by going to www.SenatorAricNesbitt.com. You may also reach out by calling (517) 373-0793 or by email at SenANesbitt@senate.Michigan.gov. My staff would be happy to assist with issues you may be having with state government agencies, and I look forward to listening and learning about your priorities and concerns for our state.

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