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House Budget Panel Approves Cutting 1,000-Plus Human Service Workers

The Michigan Department of Human Services would lose more than a thousand workers under a plan in the state House.

As The Michigan Public Radio Network’s Jake Neher tells us, opponents say the cuts would put children and low-income families at risk.

The Department of Human Services handles things like child welfare, juvenile justice, and food assistance. Republicans on a state House budget panel say the proposed cuts reflect dropping D-H-S caseloads and new technologies that make the department more efficient.

Representative Peter MacGregor chairs the subcommittee.

“There has to be some proportionate workforce reduction,"  he says.   "And that’s what I did. I tried to reduce the workforce comparable to the caseload.”

But Democrats and D-H-S officials say the cuts are extreme and would make it difficult for the department to do an adequate job. Although caseloads have dropped, they say the department was overburdened before.

They say Governor Rick Snyder’s proposal for lighter staff cuts is more appropriate.

Jake Neher is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He covers the State Legislature and other political events in Lansing.
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